Magic Number Tracker: Tuesday, April 3
Is tonight the night for the Preds to win the Central Division and clinch the top seed in the West? They can do it without help.
Each day for the remainder of the regular season — or until everything is clinched, whichever comes first — we’ll update two things – what the Preds’ magic number is for playoff positioning, and which results are preferential for the best possible playoff positioning.
How the magic number is calculated
The magic number is the difference between the Preds’ current point total and the maximum point total of whatever team is in the spot of reference (i.e., whichever playoff spot is in question), plus one point to avoid tiebreakers.
For example, Nashville currently sits at a franchise-record 113 points, and second-place Winnipeg’s maximum possible point total is 114, so the Preds’ magic number to clinch the Central Division title is 2 (114-113+1). It’s a combination of points gained by Nashville, plus points lost by the other team in question.
Yesterday’s impacts and today’s clinching scenarios
Ottawa gave it a good effort after falling behind 3-0, but the Jets prevailed and kept the Central from being clinched on Monday.
Nashville clinches the Central and the West’s top seed with a win on Tuesday. It’s that simple. Failing that, a Jets regulation loss, or overtime/shootout losses by both, would also do the trick. One point would also assure that Vegas is no longer in the equation.
If the Preds lose in regulation, they can still get both -- provided the Jets also lose in regulation and Vegas loses in any fashion.
As far as tragic numbers go, here we are:
Western Conference Playoff Race (Games Ending 4/2) pic.twitter.com/tUCMPCUO0p— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) April 3, 2018
Current magic numbers to clinch
These numbers are how many points the Preds need (either by their wins or others’ losses) to guarantee a finish in that spot, with the current team they need to beat to do that. Remember: these are clean magic numbers (no tiebreakers assumed).
Playoff spot: CLINCHED
1st wild card: CLINCHED
2nd in Central, home ice in first round: CLINCHED
Win Central Division: 2 (unchanged from Monday, current target is Winnipeg)
1st in Western Conference: 2 (0, current target: Winnipeg)
Presidents’ Trophy: 6 (0, current target: Boston)
Tracking the tracker
Here’s how the numbers have progressed since the tracker began last month:
Tuesday’s rooting interests (All game times Central)
Nine games, including the Preds’ potential Central clincher at Florida:
Nothing of note here tonight.
Winnipeg @ Montreal (6:30 p.m.): A Jets loss is the backdoor way in, but since it starts at the same time as the Preds’ game, the division could be settled around 9:15 p.m. Central time.
Top seeding interests
Boston @ Tampa Bay (6:30 p.m.): The Presidents’ Trophy cannot be clinched on Tuesday, but it can be within reach as long as the Lightning win in regulation.
Vegas @ Vancouver (9 p.m.): If the Preds should falter tonight, any Vegas loss takes the Golden Knights out of contention for the West’s top seed.
Games of no consequence
N.Y. Rangers @ New Jersey (6 p.m.): The Devils can put Florida away for good with a win.
Philadelphia @ N.Y. Islanders (6 p.m.): It’s all about positioning for the Flyers, as is the case with most of the Metro.
Detroit @ Columbus (6 p.m.): The Blue Jackets are right in that Metro race as well, looking for home ice in the first round.
Arizona @ Calgary (8 p.m.): You can safely avoid this game tonight.
Dallas @ San Jose (9:30 p.m.): We said goodbye to Dallas last night, though they should be commended for hanging in as long as they did. Didn’t think they’d be alive through the weekend. The Sharks know where they’re going to finish, so no real interest here.
Sports Club Stats does a great job of breaking down the percentages of where teams will finish and who they could play in the postseason. Check it out here.
Hockey Reference gives you more numbers to peruse, and it can be found here.
Do the Preds clinch the Central Division (and the Western Conference top seed) tonight?