FanPost

Refined Blackhawks Magic Number

To start off, this is my first FanPost so please be gentle…

Hack’s article in the Indian about magic numbers got me thinking. I really dislike how we don’t know how many points are required to get into the playoffs. So I decided to mess around in Excel and try my hand at answering one question: how many points do the Blackhawks need to ensure they make the playoffs?

To start, I’m using the standings as of the morning of Friday, March 23rd (see below). As you can see, the teams in the Western Conference who are still in playoff contention all have 6-8 games left (games 75-82).

Standing

TEAM

GP

W

L

OT

P

ROW

3

LAK

74

37

25

12

86

31

7

PHX

75

37

26

12

86

31

8

DAL

74

40

29

5

85

33

9

COL

76

40

31

5

85

31

10

SJS

74

37

27

10

84

30

11

CGY

75

34

26

15

83

31


TEAM

Game 75

Game 76

Game 77

Game 78

Game 79

Game 80

Game 81

Game 82

LAK

BOS

@VAN

@CGY

@EDM

@MIN

EDM

SJS

@SJS

PHX

@SJS

STL

SJS

ANA

CMB

@STL

@MIN

DAL

CGY

@CGY

@EDM

@VAN

@SJS

SJS

@NSH

STL

COL

VAN

@SJS

@VAN

@CGY

CMB

NSH

SJS

PHX

COL

@ANA

@PHX

DAL

@DAL

@LAK

LAK

CGY

@DAL

DAL

LAK

COL

@VAN

VAN

ANA


For this analysis, I am ignoring St. Louis, Vancouver, Detroit, Nashville, and Chicago. I only want to concern myself with the teams that are behind us (and leading in the Pacific). That leaves Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Colorado, San Jose, and Calgary in scope (highlighted in blue).


I’ve color coded the remaining games as follows:

  • Green means a game between two in scope teams (11 games total, so you see 22 blocks of green)
  • Orange means games by in scope teams and out of scope teams (22 games so you see 22 orange blocks)

Thus, we have 33 games being played by our six teams in scope. We could run every possible scenario, but that is 2^33 or 8.6 billion scenarios and I don’t think Excel could handle it (and I’m too lazy to do it on a real machine in a real software package).


I decided to make a simplifying assumption that every game between an in scope team and an out of scope team (i.e. the orange blocks), will be an ROW win for the in scope team. This means all our orange blocks become ROW wins for the in scope teams, and leaves us with just 11 games to consider, or 2^11 = 2,048 scenarios.

Now the damn OTLs…I didn’t want to deal with them, but I guess I have to since the worst case scenario is each of these 11 games between in-scope teams becomes a 3 point affair. So, I’ve decided to run two scenarios: no OTL points (least conservative), and all OTL points (most conservative).


So, get to the damned results, right? Below shows the worst case scenario from the Hawks perspective. It can be interpreted as absolute worst case, given the OTL points option, what do the Blackhawks need to do to be tied with the 8th place team?


The overall results are as follows:

1) No OTL Points Option – 97 points, 39 ROWs (+5 points and +2 ROWs)

  • 4 scenarios have Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Jose with 98 points and Dallas with 97 points/39 ROWs. That would put LA, Phoenix, and San Jose in the third, sixth, and seventh playoff positions. Eighth spot in the Western conference would be between Dallas and Chicago at 97 points and 39 ROWs. If the Hawks get 3 ROW wins over their final seven games then they would be in the playoffs.

2) All OTL Points Option – 99 points, 37 ROWs (+7 points and +0 ROWs)

  • 8 of the 2,048 scenarios run have LA with 99 or 100 points, Dallas with 99 points/39 ROWs, and then Phoenix and San Jose with 99 points/37 ROWs. Since the Blackhawks already have 37 ROWs, they would need seven OTLs to tie with Phoenix and San Jose…if they got 7 points with at least one ROW then they would be the 7th seed.

Again…these magic numbers assume the teams in scope win all of their games against out of scope teams (Vancouver, Edmonton, Minnesota, etc.). While I believe that to be wildly unrealistic, it at least provides us with a way to see what the Blackhawks need to do, which his….


WIN 4 GAMES AND THE BLACKHAWKS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!


For the numerically challenged please find some charts to show the output of the scenarios below:

All OTL Scenario -
Points Required for 8th Place

# Points/ROWs

# Scenarios

3

28

4

596

5

1,024

6

392

7

4

Total

2,048


No OTL Scenario -
Points Required for 8th Place

# Points/ROWs

# Scenarios

1

96

2

98

3

911

3 (1 ROW)

296

4

393

5

232

5 (1 ROW)

18

5 (2 ROW)

4

Total

2,048

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