March 21, 2011 4:30 pm

Is there a psychic in the house?

What is the magic number of points needed to make the playoffs in the Western Conference? Right now, it’s on track to be 97. For a while, the Kings worked under the premise that it would be 95. That was reasonable, given that in the first five post-lockout seasons, the eighth-place teams in the Western Conference have finished, respectively, with 95, 96, 91, 91 and 95 points. Might it take more this season. Dallas, currently in ninth-place, is on a point-per-game trajectory that suggests a final point total of 96.8, which suggests that the eighth-place team might need 97. Now, the other side of that is that the number of late-season intra-division games — particularly in the Pacific Division — might slow that point pace. Starting tonight, the Kings would need no worse than a 5-4-1 finish to get to 97 points. I asked Terry Murray today if he had re-examined his 95-point projection…

MURRAY: “I haven’t looked at it that much. That’s the number that we threw out, back in the middle of January, when we started talking about segment plans for our team, going into that long road trip in the middle of February. We looked at what it took for the eighth-place team last year to make it, and used that as a start point. It’s probably going to be right around that number again. It’s just about staying focused on our own games, to make sure we’re playing the right way and get some wins put up, and then we’ll see what happens from there. You have no control over what’s happening in those other games.”

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