National Lacrosse League: Playoff Picture Still Unclear in Week 14

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National Lacrosse League: Playoff Picture Still Unclear in Week 14
(Photo: nll.com)

With only three weeks left to play in the NLL schedule and all nine teams still in the hunt for a playoff spot, each game is taking on more significance.

Three teams have made the playoffs as of last weekend. The Toronto Rock, Calgary Roughnecks and Edmonton Rush have all punched their tickets to the postseason, but still need to keep earning wins to pick up those precious home playoff games.

Three more teams have the opportunity to earn playoff spots this weekend.

If the Washington Stealth beat the Roughnecks on Saturday night, they secure a place in the postseason and win their season series against Calgary. This game might have seeding implications, as the two teams continue to run neck-and-neck in the standings.

The Philadelphia Wings and Rochester Knighthawks can both clinch playoff spots this weekend, but both would need help involving either the Colorado Mammoth or Minnesota Swarm (or both) taking losses.

But before the Wings and Knighthawks can start scoreboard watching, they first have to play each other Saturday night in Rochester. The winner of that contest has a shot of locking up a postseason spot; the loser remains in jeopardy for at least another week.

The bottom three teams are also still very much in the hunt.

The Swarm, Mammoth and Buffalo Bandits are all within a half-game of each other, with Minnesota holding one game in hand and a slight edge in winning percentage as a result. If any of these teams get hot in the homestretch, they can secure their playoff hopes and even push their way up to the middle of the pack in the standings.

Minnesota is currently riding a two-game winning streak and three of their last four games are against either the Bandits or Mammoth, so they truly will be determining their own fate in the homestretch.

Colorado has won three of their last four games and has looked pretty good since giving Tye Belanger starting goaltender duties.

The Bandits, however, have lost four straight after getting off to a strong 5-3 start to the season and now face an uphill climb to make the playoffs for the second year in a row. They have a must-win game Saturday night against the Swarm and then need to win at least one more of their final two games to have a shot at moving on.

 

Follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo

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