Magic numbers

If you follow baseball, you hear the term “magic number” tossed around in September, as a mathematical formula to determine when a team has clinched a playoff spot. Well, the same thing can be done for hockey. What I have done below is taken the maximum number of points that can be earned this season by teams below the Kings, then subtracted, from it, the Kings’ total right now (85 points). Add one — to ensure that the Kings BEAT the total, not just tie it — and that’s the “magic number” for each team. The number gets reduced when the Kings earn two points (or one) or when the other team gets one point (or zero).

The important one is for the team in ninth place, because “eliminating” the ninth-place team ensures the Kings a playoff spot. For instance, Calgary has 13 games remaining this season. If the Flames finish 13-0, they would finish the season with 103 points, meaning the Kings would need 19 points the rest of this season to stay ahead of them. So the “magic number” is 19. If the Kings win Thursday, it will drop to 17. If Calgary loses its next game in regulation, it will drop to 15, etc. Last-place Edmonton can only get 75 points this season, so the Oilers have been “eliminated” by the Kings already. So here’s the list, starting with sixth-place Colorado…

6. Colorado. Games remaining: 14. Maximum points: 112.
Kings’ magic number: 28.

7. Nashville. Games remaining: 13. Maximum points: 107.
Kings’ magic number: 23.

8. Detroit. Games remaining: 13. Maximum points: 106.
Kings’ magic number: 22.

9. Calgary. Games remaining: 13. Maximum points: 103.
Kings’ magic number: 19.

10. St. Louis. Games remaining: 14. Maximum points: 101.
Kings’ magic number: 17.

11. Minnesota. Games remaining: 14. Maximum points: 100.
Kings’ magic number: 16.

12. Dallas. Games remaining: 14. Maximum points: 99.
Kings’ magic number: 15.

13. Anaheim. Games remaining: 13. Maximum points: 98.
Kings’ magic number: 14.

14. Columbus. Games remaining: 12. Maximum points: 91.
Kings’ magic number: 7.

15. Edmonton. Games remaining: 13. Maximum points: 75.

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