All nine National Lacrosse League teams still have something to play for heading into the final two weeks of the 2012 regular season. (Photo Credit: Michael Martin)
The National Lacrosse League’s 2012 regular season is headed down the home stretch with an exciting race to the finish line.
With two weekends of play remaining, all nine teams have unfinished business.
The Buffalo Bandits, Edmonton Rush and Washington Stealth are battling to claim one of the two remaining playoff berths. The Colorado Mammoth and Calgary Roughnecks are fighting for not only the West Division title, but also home-floor advantage throughout the playoffs, which would include the Championship game.
The East can still be won by any of its four teams.
Here are the playoff scenarios entering Week 16 (April 20 and 21):
PHILADELPHIA WINGS (7-7): Have clinched a playoff berth. Clinches East with two wins OR one win AND one Toronto loss AND one Rochester loss.
TORONTO ROCK (7-7): Have clinched a playoff berth. Clinches East with two wins AND one Philadelphia loss. Can also clinch East with one win AND two Philadelphia losses OR with one win AND two Rochester wins.
ROCHESTER KNIGHTHAWKS (6-8): Have clinched a playoff berth. Clinches East with two wins AND two Toronto losses.
BUFFALO BANDITS (5-9): Clinches a playoff berth with a win over Rochester this Saturday AND a Washington loss to Toronto this Friday. Can also clinch a playoff berth with a win over Rochester on Saturday AND a Rochester loss to Philadelphia on April 28. Can also clinch a playoff berth with a win against Washington on April 28. Clinches the East Division with two wins AND two Toronto losses AND two Philadelphia losses.
COLORADO MAMMOTH (11-3): Have clinched a playoff berth. Clinches West Division and top overall seed in playoffs with two wins OR one win AND a Calgary loss to Edmonton this Saturday night.
CALGARY ROUGHNECKS (11-4): Have clinched a playoff berth. Clinches West Division and top overall seed in playoffs with a win over Edmonton AND one Colorado loss.
MINNESOTA SWARM (7-7): Have clinched a playoff berth.
EDMONTON RUSH (5-8): Clinches a playoff berth with one win in any of their three remaining games OR with a Buffalo loss to Rochester on Saturday OR with one Washington loss in its final two games.
WASHINGTON STEALTH (4-10): Clinches a playoff berth with two wins AND a Rochester win over Philadelphia on April 28. Clinches a playoff berth with two wins AND three Edmonton losses.Clinches a playoff berth with a Buffalo loss to Rochester this Saturday AND a Washington win against Buffalo on April 28.
The West Division regular-season winner (Colorado or Calgary) will have a better record than the East Division winner, so the West winner will be the No. 1 overall seed, and would have home-field advantage throughout the Playoffs and Championship Game. The East Division winner is automatically the No. 2 overall seed, and would have home-field for all playoff games with the exception of facing the No. 1 overall seed (West Division regular-season title winner) in the Championship Game.
The key dates for the remainder of the season and the league rules that are applied for tiebreakers are listed below.
About the 2012 National Lacrosse League Playoffs
The 2012 NLL Playoffs will begin on the weekend of May 4-6 and take place over three consecutive weekends. Eight teams will advance to the playoffs. All playoff games are single-elimination, and hosted by the higher-seeded team.
The four Divisional Semifinal games will open the playoffs. The winners advance to the Eastern and Western Divisional Finals on the weekend of May 11-13. Those winners advance to the 2012 NLL Championship Game, to be played on the weekend of May 18-20.
The 2012 Championship Game, the East and West Division Finals and one game from the Divisional Semifinals will be televised live exclusively on CBS Sports Network.
April 28: Final Day of Regular Season
Weekend of May 4-6: Divisional Semifinals
West No. 4 at West No. 1, West No. 3 at West No. 2
East No. 4 at East No. 1, East No. 3 at East No. 2
Weekend of May 11-13: Divisional Finals
East No. 1 – No. 4 winner vs. East No. 2 – No. 3 winner, higher seed hosts
West No. 1 - No. 4 winner vs. West No. 2 - No. 3 winner, higher seed hosts
Weekend of May 18-20: NLL Championship Game
East vs. West, hosted by higher overall seed
The following is the tiebreaking procedure for clubs having identical won-lost records at the conclusion of the regular season within their division, to determine the order of finish and seeding within the division. Ties within a division are broken first.
a) Head-to-head record during the regular season (best won-lost percentage in games between tied clubs)
b) Win-loss percentage against divisional opponents
c) Win-loss record against common opponents played an equal number of times during the regular season.
d) Goals for/goals (most net points) against in head-to-head match-ups.
e) Per-game goal differential (goals for minus goals against, divided by games played) within Division
f) Total goals for/goals (most net points) against for the regular season.
g) Coin toss.
Only one club advances to the playoffs in any tie-breaking step. Remaining tied clubs revert to the first step of the tiebreakers. The winning team is removed and the tie-breaking procedure is re-applied to the remaining teams.
Overall Seeding Tiebreakers
The following is the tie-breaking procedure for clubs having identical won-lost records at the conclusion of the regular season to determine the Overall Order of Finish and Overall Playoff Seeding:
a) Head-to-head record during the regular season(best won-lost percentage in games between tied clubs)
b) Win-loss record against common opponents played an equal number of games during the regular season.
c) Goals for/goals (most net points) against in head-to-head match-ups.
d) Total goals for/goals against (most net points) for the regular season.
e) Coin toss.