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2016-2017 Habs Magic Number


Manatee-X

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It's that time of year again! The preseason is finished and the team is almost set, meaning it's time to start the Habs' annual mathematical march to that pined-for post-season position: the coveted clinched playoff spot!

If you're mainly interested in having fun and following along on our march towards 0 than feel free to stop reading this and to jump right in, but there are always people every year who are curious about where the numbers are coming from and what they mean. If you're one of those folks, here's a quick magic number FAQ:
 

WHAT IS THE MAGIC NUMBER (MN)?

 

In the simplest terms, the MN is the number of points in the NHL standings the Habs need to earn to be GUARANTEED a playoff position. When the MN hits 0, we're officially in the playoffs!
 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The question that the magic number answers is this: how many more points will the Habs need to earn in order to get into the playoffs in the absolute worst-case scenario?

What is that worst case scenario? That would be if every other team in our conference were to win every game they play for the rest of the season. That's why the starting number is 165. If every team in the East wins each of their games then they will all end up with 164 points. We would therefore need 165 in order to guarantee at least eighth place.

Now obviously it's impossible for every other team to win every game, if nothing else because the teams will be playing games against one another. As those teams lose games the magic number will start to fall. Likewise, each Canadiens win will also cause a drop - the more points we already have, the less we'll need in order to reach that worst-case 8th place threshold.

WHEN DOES THE NUMBER DROP?

 

As mentioned above, the starting number is 165. Generally speaking:

  • It is reduced by 2 points every time the Canadiens win a game in regulation.
  • It is reduced by 1 point every time the Canadiens lose in overtime or in the shootout.
  • It is reduced by 2 points every time the 8th place team* loses a game in regulation.
  • It is reduced by 1 point every time the 8th place team* loses a game in OT or SO.

*the 8th place team as determined by the NL standings, disregarding the Canadiens. See below.

 

 

 

WHAT IS THIS "NL STANDINGS" TABLE THAT YOU'RE ALWAYS POSTING?

Simply put, you can think of it this way: the NL standings table is what the actual standings would be at the end of the year if every team won every game remaining in their schedule.

 

As I mentioned earlier, the MN calculations assume that every other team is going to win every game. As a result, nothing really changes when a team wins - our worst-case assumption was proven correct and the MN stays the same. The magic number is only affected when a team loses, since each loss reduces their maximum possible point total. Because of this, we rework the NHL standings table in a way that prioritizes the number of losses (or NL). This lets us easily see who the 8th place team is that we're trying to beat. As long as we stay ahead of this 8th place "bubble team" we're going to get a playoff spot.

 

 

WASN'T THERE A BUNCH MATH INVOLVED IN ALL THIS?

Not for most of us - Flying_Lion usually takes care of all that :P. As it turns out, though, the math isn't actually very complicated at all. The tough part (and the reason that we thank Lion so profusely every year) is keeping the NL table up-to-date after each game in order to figure out who the "bubble team" is. The bubble team is the team that we need to beat in order to reach our goal of making the playoffs - if we're in the bottom half of the NL standings we need to beat the team that's currently in 8th. If we're in the top half of the NL standings then we need to stay ahead of the team that's currently in 9th. For other MNs (i.e. those that look for us to clinch the division or the conference) the "bubble team" becomes whichever team is currently holding the spot that we want to occupy.

Once you know who the bubble team (BT) is, however, the MN is very easy to find:

MN = (BT's current points) + (BT's games remaining * 2) - (Canadiens current points) + 1


 

WHAT ARE BONUS POINTS?

 

"Bonus points" is a term we use to refer to the MN dropping because of the results of a game that the Habs aren't involved in. Broadly speaking, we get 2 bonus points when the bubble team loses in regulation and 1 when they lose in OT or SO.

 

 

WHAT ARE ALL THESE OTHER NUMBERS?

 

In addition to the standard magic number, there are a few other things that we keep track of:

 

MN Pace

This is the average pace that the MN has been dropping per Habs game. This includes both points that we earn ourselves and bonus points earned from other teams' losses. If the MN pace is above 2.0 then we're on pace to clinch a playoff spot at the end of the year.

 

MN EPD ( Estimated Party Date) NUMBER

This number is a prediction of when the MN will hit 0, based on the MN Pace to this point and the assumption that we'll continue on the same pace.

MN HOME ICE, DIVISION & CONFERENCE NUMBERS
Same principle is applied as the regular MN number. When these numbers hit 0 then we have clinched that honour.

MN T.O. NO GO NUMBER
A different twist to this number. When it reaches 0 then the LEAFS are officially ELIMINATED from the playoffs.
The same principle can be applied for any other team you may hate. Make a request and we will calculate it here.

And that's it! I tried to cover off just about everything that I could think of, but if you have any questions at all feel free to ask them in the forum or to send me a PM. Until next time, happy MNing! :)

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I'm in for sure, with the traditional offer to step aside for young blood and fresh ideas. Although, those are always welcome even if they don't feel up to taking the reins. 

 

I've got the sheet all set. I'll post it later tonight. I just rip photos from the internet for the background so if anyone wants to offer up something more original and creative, that would be great. 

 

I should be able to get the number posted pretty much daily if not always the complete standings. 

 

Here's to hoping we're on the right side of the math come April. 

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MN is 158.

I'm currently counting MN Playoffs against Boston because they would be dropped in favour of Pittsburgh as a 3rd Metropolitan team.

1 Bonus available on Wednesday (pretty sure :unsure:) should Toronto lose in regulation to Winnipeg.

...

Worth noting: if any armchair calculators notice anything amiss in the spreadsheet, please let me know. I just caught a couple of glitches on my part. I'd rather get everything ironed out sooner rather than later.

 

MN 201617.jpg

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MN is 158.

Good chance for a bonus point tonight but the permutations are too much to break down. Regulation losses to Toronto and Boston are good, as well as any loss to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Buffalo and New Jersey.

 

MN 201617.jpg

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MN is 154.

I didn't think a 4-pointer was possible or, if so, at all probable. Thanks, Toronto! It's tough for me to track all the potential results early in the season when everyone is still so bunched up. Give me a few more games and once teams have spread out a little more, my Bonus prognostication will improve.

That said, I can say with certainty there will be no movement on Friday.

Note: MN Playoffs is being counted against Toronto (yay!) and not NY Rangers on account of the max. 5 per division playoff rule, although they're tied for NL so it doesn't really matter. Just sayin'.

MN 201617.jpg

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3 hours ago, Flying_Lion said:

MN is 154.

I didn't think a 4-pointer was possible or, if so, at all probable. Thanks, Toronto! It's tough for me to track all the potential results early in the season when everyone is still so bunched up. Give me a few more games and once teams have spread out a little more, my Bonus prognostication will improve.

That said, I can say with certainty there will be no movement on Friday.

I'm just happy I got out of the game before they switched over to divisions :P

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22 hours ago, Manatee-X said:

I'm just happy I got out of the game before they switched over to divisions :P

I'm torn between the new format and the old. While I enjoy the return of divisional rivalries, there's something to be said about the nonsense of the two best regular season teams facing off in the second round, i.e. Washington and Pittsburgh last year. That said, you're going to have to beat the best at some point to win the Cup.

You're right, though. It can make for quite a headache when trying to determine Bonuses.

...

MN is 154.

Pretty sure with Buffalo not playing that there's no chance for 2 Bonus Points on Saturday.

1 Bonus point is doable, I think. Losses to 4 of the following 5 should do it: DET (vSJS), TOR (@CHI), NYR (@WAS), CAR (@PHI), CLB (@DAL).

 

MN 201617.jpg

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I agree wholeheartedly with all the above posts.

...

MN is 150.

Good chance for 1 Bonus Point tonight. All it will take is for 1 of the 4 teams at 2.0 net losses playing tonight - Detroit (v. Carolina), Ottawa (@Vancouver), Boston (v. Minneosta), or Columbus (@ Los Angeles) - to lose in any fashion. A regulation loss to Florida (@ Pittsburgh ) would do it, too.

2 Bonus Points might be a bit of a stretch but anything is possible. The right teams are playing.

 

MN 201617.jpg

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MN is 143.

Boy, am I glad I drink a blended shake for breakfast. It makes it a lot easier to eat my words. Not only was I wrong for bailing after the 2nd last night, it turns out 2 Bonus Points were possible. I'm still not sure how it happened but there it is.

No Bonuses available on Friday. Take that for what it's worth.

 

MN 201617.jpg

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