The magic number is 13

March 27, 2012, by

The Rangers and Penguins are seemingly locked in what will be an epic battle for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Rangers currently lead the Penguins by a single point, both with seven games remaining in the season. While many are panicking about how the Penguins could catch up so quickly (more on that in a second), the Rangers have two distinct advantages in this race.

First, the Rangers have more points than the Penguins, which means they still control their own destiny. As long as the Rangers win, the Penguins can’t catch up. Each time the Rangers win, the magic number is deducted by two. Each time the Penguins lose, the magic number is deducted by two. With three very winnable games coming up, the magic number could feasibly be seven by the end of the month. If the Rangers win at Pittsburgh in April, that’s a four point swing in the magic number.

Second, the Rangers lead the first tiebreaker –regulation and overtime wins– 43-38, and it is unlikely that the Penguins catch up. To be honest, if they catch up in ROW, then they are likely passing the Rangers in standings anyway, because it would mean the Rangers aren’t winning games. Since the Rangers hold the first tiebreaker, the Penguins must finish ahead of the Rangers in points to take the division.

But more on those Penguins for a moment. Let’s remember that they went on a tear recently, and have won 14 of the past 16 games they’ve played. The only thing the Rangers could have done to prevent them from catching up was cutting the brakes on their bus. There has been no stopping the now healthy Penguins, who have finally progressed back to the mean in terms of team expectations. The Penguins were expected to be a 100 point team by the end of March, but yet people seem surprised that they reached that number.

Boston went undefeated in November, Pittsburgh went close to undefeated in March. The only difference is the timing. It is not possible for the Penguins to continue winning games at this rate, especially come playoff time. The Rangers are still in first place, and now these games mean something. Did you really want them coasting into the playoffs?

Categories : Around the League


  1. Spozo says:

    April 5th will be a war in Pittsburg.

    • Bob Golomb says:

      Pittsburg(H) is in 25 other cities. The Pensi are the only team with 3 cups and and H. It will not be a war, Rangers see theie throat Dr. on the 6th

      • Dave says:


        • Chris F says:

          Considering how sensitive Pens fans are to the spelling of their beloved city, here’s a little H-inspired controversy, we can call it H-Gate.

          Did you know that the steely city of Pittsburgh was renamed Pittsburg in 1890? The “US Board on Geographic Names to Standardize U.S. City Names” implemented a number of naming scheme standards, one of which was to alter “burgh” to “burg,” in addition to “borough” to “boro” and changing the Anglophilic “centre” to “center.”

          As petulant then as they are now, the H-less Pittsburg locals regained their shred of individuality by appealing the Board’s ruling and demanding exemption. In 1911, Pittsburg, PA once again became the unique Pittsburg(h) with an H that we’ve all come to love, and its inhabitants have been policing the unique spelling of the city ever since on blogs and forums across America…

          Sadly, none such fundamentalism has been exhibited from anyone of New York’s five Boros, or is it Boroughs? And what’s up with those stoic citizens of Pittsburg(h), North Dakota? Don’t they have any pride? Why haven’t they embraced their H? Frankly, I don’t think they’re deserving of such a unique honor, but that’s just me…

          *As for the throat doctor… was that a reference to the fat lady?

      • voidoid says:

        “Now who can argue with that? I think we’re all indebted to Gabby Johnson for clearly stating what needed to be said. I’m particularly glad that these lovely children were here today to hear that speech. Not only was it authentic frontier gibberish, it expressed a courage little seen in this day and age.”

      • VinceR says:

        Maybe they should concentrate on the Isles before then, huh?

  2. Walt says:

    The only person seeing the throat doctor April 6th is Cindy, after sucking ass!! Or is he taking it in there?????