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Caps Can Clinch Tonight March 18, 2011

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

I was waiting for the nightcap results to do a good thorough house cleaning on the Magic Numbers chart. I’m taking a closer look at the tie breaks, and readjusting a few numbers. That’s in progress, and I’m going to get back to that once I’m done with this blog post. This, however, is urgent: THE CAPS CAN CLINCH A PLAYOFF BERTH TONIGHT. They’ll need some unlikely help, but it’s mathematically possible. Here’s why.

The first tie break when you look at a magic number is Current Points against Max Possible Points. If Team A has a higher Current Points than Team B’s Max Possible, Team A would have clinched the standing over Team B. But what happens in a tie?

The new tie break procedure this year says that shootout wins do not count, so you have to consider Regulation and Overtime wins. If you look on the NHL.com standings, you’ll see a column marked ROW: that’s the number you’re looking for. So if there is a potential points tie, you then have to make the same comparison with ROW: Does Team A have a higher ROW than Team B can possibly attain? If yes, it’s a clinch; if not, you compare the head-to-head records (which is the main reason I’ve been slaving over that beast of a chart since October.) And we may end up having to use that tonight.

The Capitals currently have 92 points. Atlanta and New Jersey currently have 94 as their Max Possible Points number, and Carolina has 96 Max Possible. (I did say the Caps would need help–I’ll get to Carolina in a second. Hold that thought.) So, if the Caps win tonight, New Jersey will lose Max Possible Points–one, two, doesn’t matter if the Caps win, as the Caps will take the standing over New Jersey by virtue of their Current 94 and the Devils’ Max 93 at best. So that would take care of New Jersey.

Atlanta? Well, it’s Current 94, Washington to Max 94, Atlanta, so let’s look at ROW. Atlanta has an ROW of 26 with 11 games to go, for an ROW top line of 37. The Caps already have an ROW of 38. So a win would tie them with Atlanta on points, and clinch the standing on the ROW tie break. That would clinch the 9 East spot.

Now, Carolina is playing the Islanders tonight, and their top line is 96. If the Islanders win in regulation, Carolina’s Max Points would come down to 94. Which means we have to look at–hey, you’re a quick study–the ROW line. If Carolina loses, their ROW would come down to 38. If the Caps win in regulation or overtime, their ROW goes to 39, and welcome to the playoffs.

But what if the Caps win in a shootout? Then the ROW would be tied, so we then have to look at the head-to-head series. The Capitals have already clinched the season series with the Hurricanes, so they own that tie break, as well.

The bottom line, Caps fans, is this. If the Capitals beat New Jersey tonight, and the Islanders get past Carolina in regulation, then the Capitals will clinch a playoff berth.

I need to finish updating the chart, but this is big, thus the diversion.

Back to the chart…


UPDATE–Magic Numbers chart will get a more thorough housecleaning later this morning.


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