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2018 - 2019 Habs Magic Number & Lottery Race

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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!


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.



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.





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.




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




"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.





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.

Same principle is applied as the regular MN number. When these numbers hit 0 then we have clinched that honour.

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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16 hours ago, campabee82 said:

I think we can safely say we are pretty well out of the lottery race unless by some miracle we losses like 10 games in a row which I know isn't out of the realm of possibility 

Seems as if this team has the potential to string together streaks of various types though I'd put the odds of a losing streak higher than a winning one. It's still way early to get excited one way or another.


MN is 149.


MN 201819.jpg

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Well that was tough to take. I guess we met the season's quota for 60 minute efforts. Granted some of it, line ups for example, was of our own doing. Officiating, though, is out of our hands.


MN is 145.

MN 201819.jpg

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