MAGIC NUMBER

Pat Steinberg
March 30 2010 05:34PM

Well, this is probably not in the best interests of Flames Nation credibility, but I'll try it anyway. Even though Kent is our resident math expert, I've taken a stab at the whole "Magic Number" idea, as the Calgary Flames enter the final 6 games of the regular season.

If you're not familiar, the Magic Number idea came from baseball. In this case, it combines wins by the teams ahead of Calgary and losses by the Flames to come up with one number. Now, let me preface this with two things. First, I'm an idiot with numbers. Second, this is not iron-clad it's a "most likely" Magic Number scenario. It doesn't take into account some wacky finish where, say, Colorado finishes with 5 shootout losses but Calgary ties with points or something like that.

Then the following math may not apply, as Calgary may own the first tiebreak with the Avs. Come the end of the season, the tiebreaks are as follows, in order of priority…number of wins (LA 42, Colorado 41, Calgary 38), head to head (Calgary beats LA, loses to Colorado).

The numbers from Calgary's perspective they sit with 38 wins and 85 points with 6 games remaining this season. Their best possible scenario is 97 points, if Calgary wins out down the stretch. In terms of wins, Calgary's best case scenario is 44. Lets start with 7th place LA (as it stands PRIOR to a game with the Nashville Predators Tuesday Night).

They have 42 wins and 90 points with 7 games remaining this season (including tonight). Because Calgary owns the second tiebreak on the Kings, the Magic Number for Los Angeles is now 4 games.

The scenarios:

  • 4 LA wins gets them to 98 points
  • 3 LA wins 1 Calgary loss gets LA to 96 but the Flames would only be able to get to 95
  • 2 LA wins 2 Calgary losses gets the Kings to 94 points but a possible total of just 93 for the Flames
  • 1 LA win 3 Calgary losses gets the Kings to just 92 guaranteed points, but Calgary would be able to get a grand total of 91.

Magic Number: 4

8th place Colorado also owns a Magic Number of 4. The Avs sit with 41 wins and 89 points with 7 games remaining. The Avs can tie Calgary in terms of wins and still make the playoffs, as they also own the head to head tiebreak with the Flames. So Calgary has to have more points than the Avalanche.

Once again, the scenarios:

  • Colorado wins 4 gets the Avs to 97 points and 45 wins
  • 3 Colorado wins 1 Calgary loss gets the Avs to 95 points and 44 wins (enough to win the tiebreak)
  • 2 Colorado wins 2 Calgary losses gets the Avs to 93 points Calgary can get to only 93
  • 1 Colorado win 3 Calgary losses sees the Avs finish with at least 91 points while Calgary can get to just 91.

Magic Number: 4

From a cynics standpoint, we could also make the "Elimination Number"…but who wants to be negative? In that event, though, Calgary's Elimination Number would also be 4. Damn, the math makes things seem a whole lot bleaker.

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Pat Steinberg can be heard daily on the Fan960 in Calgary at can be read at the FAN 960. Born and raised in Calgary, Steinberg considers himself a huge fan of all sports including the CFL, MMA and 13 round bare knuckle boxing matches. Follow Steinberg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Fan960Steinberg.
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#1 walkinvisible
March 30 2010, 08:39PM
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whoah. that math almost makes... like.... SENSE.

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#2 maimster
March 30 2010, 09:26PM
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So right now, we're #4, Bobby Orr. Orr is good, we're in good shape.

Of course, one loss or LA/Avs win and we're at #3 Dion Phaneuf, and that's instant bad news. May as well expect another loss or LA/Avs win, and...

...we're at #2 - let's go with Big Al MacInnis. Al wouldn't let us down, would he? We don't even play St. Louis, so no conflicts of interest. Unlikely we stay at 2, though, eventually we'll be at 1.

Then, we're in Hardy Astrom territory, and for those of you who know your Don Cherry history, that's really bad news.

It gets more complicated when it goes beyond the numbers!

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#3 b1ackhat
March 30 2010, 10:12PM
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Oilers clinched tonight LOLZ

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#5 Greg
March 31 2010, 07:22AM
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So I guess the "positive" way to look at is our Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot is 9. Unfortunately we only have 13 games to get there, but we can cut that almost in half by Friday if the stars align. Conversely, we could be out by then too. :S

McBackup is starting in Anaheim tonight... ironically this could be his biggest win for the Flames ever.

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#6 Arik
March 31 2010, 07:37AM
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Fantastic band reference, by the way. Love Mornings Eleven.

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#7 mikeH
March 31 2010, 11:02AM
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I always thought that 3 was the magic number:

Schoolhouse Rock

Of course, I never learned to count until I had the chance to hear the Blind Melon version.

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