In baseball-speak, the talk is of a "magic number" to clinch a playoff berth or a division title.
However, the Vegas Golden Knights welcomed the hockey difference to lower their number to clinch the Pacific Division crown despite losing.
Thanks to a Logan Couture goal in overtime, the San Jose Sharks nipped the Knights, 2-1, yet did not gain a "full game" in the standings. Because of the so-called "loser point" collected by Vegas simple for forcing the game to an extra session, San Jose only gained one point to move within seven in the Pacific. Both sides have eight contests remaining.
San Jose (42-23-9) has 93 points after extending its win streak to six straight. If the Sharks win out, they can post a maximum 109 points, so Vegas (47-21-6), after becoming the first expansion club to reach 100 points, needs 10 points (either Vegas win/OT losses or San Jose losses) to earn the divisional pennant.
Tomas Tatar tapped in a rebound to beat goalie Martin Jones just 3:47 into the contest. Jonathan Marchessault and Shea Theodore garnered assists. However, Jones stopped the other 24 shots (including three in overtime) to register the win.
Malcolm Subban recorded 42 saves for the Knights, many coming on the San Jose power play which went 0-for-6. It was Subban's first full game since Marc-Andre Fleury was injured in the team's previous game against Vancouver.
Fleury did not travel with the club, which is silent about the injury. A video review saw a Canucks shot hit Fleury in the face mask or chin protector, leading to speculation about another concussion t Fleury out for 60 days early in the season.
However, Subban played solid in the net and seems like a capable replacement should Fleury's injury be long term and extend into the postseason.
San Jose opened as a -125 favorite, receiving the majority of the action to close at -130.
The Golden Knights start a home-and-home series with the Colorado Avalanche in Denver Saturday afternoon, then hosting the Avalanche on Monday to start the final homestand of the regular season.
Knights Knotes: William Karlsson (39 goals) has not scored since his natural hat trick against Calgary on Sunday, when he broke Gilbert Perreault's record (38) for most goals by a player on a true first-year team (although some count Wayne Gretzky's 51 goals with Edmonton as the mark, although the Oilers were actually an established club that was absorbed into the NHL).