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Wings visit Knighthawks with second place in East on the line

04/02/2013, 5:00pm EDT
By NLL.com's Dave Walls, Wings beat writer for NLL.com

Watch Saturday's game live on CBS Sports Network at 6pm ET

The Philadelphia Wings visit the Rochester Knighthawks at The Blue Cross Arena on Saturday at 6pm ET. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

The Philadelphia Wings (5-7) visit the Rochester Knighthawks (5-6) on Saturday night at The Blue Cross Arena for a pivotal East Division battle with playoff implications at 6 p.m. ET. Watch the game live on CBS Sports Network.

Philadelphia can clinch a playoff berth this weekend with two wins AND a Minnesota loss to Buffalo OR with two wins AND a Colorado loss to Edmonton.

The season series is split between the two teams as the Knighthawks easily handled the Wings on the road in early February by a score of 20-10 before Philadelphia got revenge just two weeks later by defeating Rochester on the road with a 10-8 win.

With five NLL teams tied with five wins, and the winner of Saturday’s game in Rochester gaining a tiebreaker advantage over the other, the stakes are at their highest level of the season.

Wings general manager and head coach Johnny Mouradian notes that his Wings team, in the middle of a four-game losing streak, is in a very different spot than they were last season.

“We were sitting at 7-4, having already clinched a playoff spot,” Mouradian said. “After that, we let some things slide…We’re really planning and preparing and working hard to finish strong. That’s the mindset you have to have.”

Philadelphia is coming off of a disappointing Week #13, having dropped both games to Minnesota and Colorado on the road.

“Things happen so quickly,” Mouradian said. “A game can get away from you really quickly and you can gain control of a game really quickly.”

Despite the recent slide by Philly, the bench will be full, after the team was decimated by injuries and suspensions in recent weeks. Last week, Wings captain Brodie Merrill and assistant captain Brett Manney both returned from their injuries, while goalie Brandon Miller and rookie defenseman Mike Manley both served one-game suspensions for their roles in fights against the Washington Stealth on March 9.

The Wings also hope to keep their opponent’s scoreless streak going into this game as Philadelphia shut out Colorado for the entire second half of their 10-9 loss to the Mammoth.

“You try and focus on how you felt in that game, and how you felt after it,” Mouradian said. “We were proud about the way we came back, but we weren’t satisfied.”

On Sunday, the Wings return home to host the Minnesota Swarm at Wells Fargo Center at 4 p.m. ET. Watch Sunday’s game live on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network.

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