The playoff race is heating up. Some teams are fighting for home-field advantage in the playoffs and other teams are scrapping just to extend their season.
Toronto is the only team to have clinched a play-off berth in the East. Calgary, Edmonton, and Washington has clinched in the West, respectively. All three teams have identical records – these three teams will be fighting it out to see who gets to host the first round game. Rochester and Philly are in good shape, but Buffalo has backed itself into a corner. The Bandits currently sit at 5-9, the worst record in the league.
The NLL has a cross over rule, if the last place team in the West has a better record than the last place team in the East, the 5th place team in the West crosses over to become the 4th seed in the East. Basically, Buffalo doesn’t have a guaranteed in and it isn’t looking good for them.
Minnesota and Colorado are all tied up for the 4th and 5th place teams in the West. Both teams have identical 6-8 records, but here’s the kicker – Both teams play each other the last two weeks of the season. You can’t write a better ending to the NLL season.
- Toronto Rock @ Philadelphia Wings
Connor Wilson – Toronto Rock “I like Philly’s heart and athleticism, but at this point games are often coming down to consistent team play. Toronto has that, Rock win“.
Chris Rosenthall – Toronto Rock “The Wings were very impressive last week, but Toronto’s just the more consistent team“.
Ryan Connors – Toronto Rock “Philly is good in transition, but so is Toronto. This should be a great back and forth game, but remember Toronto is number 1 for a reason“.
- Minnesota Swarm @ Colorado Mammoth
Connor Wilson – Minnesota Swarm “Minnesota would still love another win, and last week’s effort should have them ready to go. Plenty of depth on Minny, and they’ve had time to get their team together“.
Chris Rosenthall – Colorado Mammoth “The Mammoth offense still isn’t putting up the numbers I expected, but their defense has come along nicely in the past few weeks“.
Ryan Connors – Minnesota Swarm “54 goals in the pats 3 games, are you kidding me!? The Swarm offense is running like a well-oiled locomotive. Look for them to make a splash in the playoffs“.
Sidebar: I started following Swarm forward Matt Gibson (@ItsMattGibson) on Twitter. If you enjoy clever and witty tweets I highly suggest you give him a follow. You will not be disappointed.
- Rochester Knighthawks @ Calgary Roughnecks
Connor Wilson – Calgary Roughnecks “I almost picked Rochester here. Almost. But I still like CAL to be the team from the West, and think Rochester is still suspect at times. Last weekend they looked better though. This should be a superb game“.
Chris Rosenthall – Rochester Knighthawks “My prediction: Calgary takes a ton of shots, Matt Vinc stops most of them, and the Knighthawks win, we’ll say, 13-10“.
Ryan Connors – Calgary Roughnecks “Close, close game to call, a very tough one. Calgary is playing better lacrosse at this point in the season though. Connor is right, I question the consistency of the Knighthawks“.
- Buffalo Bandits @ Washington Stealth
Connor Wilson – Washington Stealth “I don’t want to say the Bandits have given up, because they haven’t, but Washington looks like a dark horse, so I’ll take the Stealth“.
Chris Rosenthall – Washington Stealth “The Bandits haven’t won a game since February 28. That’s six losses in a row. I think that streak goes at least another week“.
Ryan Connors – Washington Stealth “The Bandits are back into a corner, and I know there is some saying about not cornering a donkey because he’ll kick. Regardless of how hard the Bandits fight, I don’t think anyone realizes how good the Stealth actually are“.
- Rochester Knighthawks @ Edmonton Rush
Connor Wilson – Edmonton Rush “The Rush are a good team that is only getting better. ROCH Is improved as well, but I like Edmonton to win this one at home“.
Chris Rosenthall – Edmonton Rush “Even though Edmonton’s 1-5 at home, I’m picking the Rush since Rochester plays the night before while Edmonton gets the night off. If Rochester clinches their playoff spot on Saturday night, there’s also that chance they take their foot off the gas on Sunday“.
Ryan Connors – Edmonton Rush “Matthews had a low output last week, which resulted in a loss. I don’t think those low numbers will happen again. Look for a big night out of Matthews and the Rush to win….Mark my words”. (I hate myself for that pun).
Correct Picks Running Tally:
Connor Wilson (31-32)
Chris Rosenthall (29-34)
Ryan Connors (28-35)
Follow me on twitter at @connors36 for more lacrosse talk.
Photo Credit: Larry Palumbo – Coyote Magic Action Shots