We are one step closer to the Champion’s Cup as the first game for both the East and West Division Finals goes down Saturday night. Rest vs. Rust is a storyline to watch as the Swarm and Rush come off of an opening round bye.
Eliminated from playoffs– New England Black Wolves, Vancouver Stealth, Buffalo Bandits, Rochester Knighthawks, Calgary Roughnecks.
NLL staff members Andy McNamara, Mia Gordon, Tyson Geick, and Brian Shanahan deliver their game predictions every week. Here are the playoff standings:
Send us your picks @NLL on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the specific game hashtags for each match-up below.
East Division Final – Game 1
(#1) Georgia Swarm at (#2) Toronto Rock
Saturday, 7pm ET
The Rock are red hot after finishing the regular season with a win then dominating New England in the East Semi-Final. However, the Swarm made history in 2017 by scoring the most goals ever in a NLL season.
Georgia has the ability to go on torrid scoring runs at any moment so Toronto must stay disciplined and catch some breaks on transition. I see this being a back-and-forth classic with the Rock hanging on in the end.
I feel like the Toronto Rock have the momentum right now coming off of a big win last week. They have out shot the Swarm in all the previous games this season, I think we may just see the upset in Game 1 here.
I took a closer look at the season series, and I think the Rock have what it takes to surprise the Swarm in Game 1 based on a hunger for loose balls, and a goaltending edge. They’re going to need to play TOUGH.
Tweet @NLL your prediction using #GAvsTOR
West Division Final
(#1) Saskatchewan Rush at (#3) Colorado Mammoth
Saturday, 9pm ET
Saskatchewan won the season series 3-1, but their three victories were all by a single goal. The Mammoth haven’t been as dominant in the Pepsi Center as in years past, but it’s still a tough place to play. I see the Rush wearing down Colorado as the game progresses and pulling away in the 4th quarter.
A well rested Rush team is going to be pretty dangerous and they have had the edge on Colorado all season long.
Once again I looked at the season series… it was, for the most part, all Sask, in spite of the fact that their three wins were one goal wins. A lack of offensive production from the Mammoth is concerning.
Tweet @NLL your prediction using #SASvsCOL
Get a full breakdown of the “X-Factors” for each team in the Division Finals here: https://t.co/ODUadK7xPN
Andy McNamara has been a play-by-play commentator for the NLL on TSN, NLLTV.com, and world lacrosse tournaments since 2011. He’s also a sport talk host and anchor on TSN 1050 sports radio. Follow Andy on twitter @AndyMc81.