Buffalo Bandits (8-5) can clinch home playoff game with win or with help from Vancouver this weekend. (Photo: Bill Wippert)
The undefeated Edmonton Rush (13-0) and Rochester Knighthawks (10-4), first place in the West and East Divisions respectively, have clinched berths and at least one home game in the NLL playoffs. After the Calgary Roughnecks (9-5) and Buffalo Bandits (8-5) punched their postseason tickets on Friday night, there are now just two spots left in the postseason race.
The Philadelphia Wings (5-10) now trail the Toronto Rock (5-9) for third in the East Division while the Minnesota Swarm (3-11) are still hanging on. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Stealth (4-9) and Colorado Mammoth (5-9) are vying for the third and final spot in in the West.
Edmonton can lock up the division and home field advantage throughout the playoffs with the NLL regular season title with a win against Colorado. If Edmonton loses, they can still clinch division if their Alberta rival Roughnecks stumble on the road on Saturday. Buffalo can clinch a home playoff game with a win over the Roughnecks or with a Toronto loss. Calgary can do the same with a win over the Bandits, or via a Colorado loss.
-Can clinch a home playoff game with a win over Calgary OR a Toronto loss to Vancouver.
-Can clinch a home playoff game with a win over Buffalo OR a Colorado loss.
-Clinch West Division title and home field advantage throughout playoffs with a win over Colorado.
-Clinch West Division title with a Calgary loss to Buffalo.
Before the start of the season, the league reduced the number of teams who qualify for the playoffs from eight to six teams, featuring the top three clubs in each division's standings. The crossover rule no longer applies. The two regular season division champions will earn a first-round bye as top seeds. The second seed will host the third seed in their respective division for the single-game elimination Division Semifinal in the first round.
Also new to the postseason format, the Division Finals and Championship both expand to a two-game series from the previous single-game elimination setup. The top seed from each division will play the winner of the Division Semifinal game between the second and third seeds, with the lower-seeded team hosting the first game and the higher (best) seed hosting the second game of the series.
Teams who win both games shall win the two-game series. In the event of a series split with both teams winning one game, a 10-minute tiebreaker game will be played immediately following the conclusion of the second contest to determine the winner of the playoff series.