Already member? Login first!

Comments / New

Nashville Predators Playoff Picture: March 13th, 2024

Nov 9, 2023; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Nashville Predators head coach Andrew Brunette talks with players during a time out in the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to On The Forecheck’s playoff picture for the Nashville Predators as they look to secure an unlikely postseason berth in coach Andrew Brunette’s debut season behind the bench. In these updates, we’ll review games of interest from the night before, the current playoff picture, and who to root for in tonight’s matchups.

Last Night’s Games of Interest

San Jose Sharks 2, Philadelphia Flyers 3
San Jose is eliminated–they can only max out at 75 points. The Sharks are out of playoff contention officially now, even though their fate was pretty much sealed months ago. Nashville clinches a better record than San Jose, and the Sharks are eliminated from playoff contention.

Dallas Stars 3, Florida Panthers 4
The Stars join Winnipeg and Colorado as the top three Central Division teams with a comfortable lock on one of the division playoff spots. Nashville is nine points behind Colorado and Winnipeg, and 11 behind Dallas–there’s a chance Nashville could still grab one of the top three Central Division playoff spots, but it’s unlikely. Still, Dallas losing to a non-conference foe helps Nashville, as a division rival, out.

Minnesota Wild 4, Arizona Coyotes 1
The Coyotes still have life in the West, but not by much–they trail 12th-place Calgary by ten points. Unfortunately, John Hynes’s Wild continue their winning ways, with Minnesota now in ninth place as the first team outside of the playoffs. A Minnesota loss is always helpful for Nashville.

Chicago Blackhawks 7, Anaheim Ducks 2
Chicago is already eliminated, and with Nashville already clinching a better record than the Sharks, the Ducks are next. They’re six points behind Arizona, and 18 points behind the contending group of CGY, SEA, STL and MIN. Nashville has already clinched a better record than Chicago and the Blackhawks are already eliminated from playoff contention.

Colorado Avalanche 6, Calgary Flames 2
While the Avs are a Central Division rival, they have a nine-point lead on Nashville, while Calgary could still make a run at a Wild Card berth, so the Flames losing last night was the better outcome in regard to Nashville’s playoff chances.

Vegas Golden Knights 5, Seattle Kraken 4 (OT)
Overtime games between conference rivals are never the best outcome for Nashville–especially with Seattle also in the thick of the Wild Card race. Vegas sits one point out of Nashville’s current spot in the first wildcard position, with a game in hand, and Seattle still gained a single point to stem the bleeding.

Current Standings, Possible Points and Playoff Outlook

The “Possible Point Maximum” does not account for teams still to play head-to-head–it is simply the number of points left in remaining games for each team. Nashville can get 110 points if they win out, but by virtue of this, each opponent would lose points in their maximum. This is provided not as a definite cutoff this far out, but as a look at what each individual team can potentially earn for the rest of the season.

Nashville and Vegas are the only teams outside the top three of their divisions who control their own playoff destiny, so both teams set the place for the remaining teams. Nashville winning 13 of 16 games would guarantee a playoff berth, no matter what other teams do, but they’ll likely need help. So the Predators need to keep winning at this current pace to make this race a little less stressful.

Cheering Interests for Tonight and Magic Numbers

All four of tonight’s matchups involve at least one Western Conference team–better yet, all seven Western conference teams are in the top ten in the standings. So how should Nashville fans cheer tonight?

Nashville Predators vs Winnipeg Jets- 6:30 PM Central
Obviously you cheer for Nashville–especially against the Jets, who sit just two points out of first in the Central with three games in hand on Dallas. Nashville winning (duh) means much more for the Preds’ playoff chances than the Jets losing does.
Cheer: Go Preds!

Los Angeles Kings vs St. Louis Blues – 6:30 PM Central
Nashville actually has more points than the Kings, but LA sits in third due to a much more wide-open Pacific Division. St. Louis, on the other hand, is nine points behind Nashville. Chances are, the Central Division will only end up with one wild card team. Pushing the Blues lower increases the chance Nashville clinches, so let’s look for a Kings win.
Cheer: The Los Angeles Viktor Arvidssons (RIP)

Washington Capitals vs Edmonton Oilers – 9:00 PM Central
Edmonton has just a three-point lead on Nashville, but since they’re playing an out-of-conference opponent in Washington, it’s always better for Nashville if the West team loses in regulation.
Cheer: Washington – See, I can hurt your feelings too, Leon Draisaitl

Colorado Avalanche vs Vancouver Canucks – 9:30 PM Central
Nashville isn’t going to catch Vancouver (most likely), so the focus is on the third-place Colorado Avalanche as Central Division rivals. We want to focus on the teams Nashville can catch, and the Canucks probably aren’t one of them.
Cheer: Vancouver – Sorry, Yakov Trenin

What is a magic number?

Rather than deal with possible tiebreakers this far out from the playoffs, we can look at the Magic Number. In this case, this is the number of points gained by Nashville or lost by an opposing team that will guarantee a better record. For a playoff berth, if Nashville can get more points than the ninth-place team can possibly attain, the Predators are in the playoffs.

Magic numbers can also be denoted in number of wins, rather than points.

Talking Points