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Ten Things to Know for Week 21, The March to May Regular Season Finale

‘The March to May’ Concludes with Eight Games as Five Teams Vie for Final Two Spots, Seeds 3-8 up for Grabs; Every Game Has Playoff/Seeding Implications; NLL Game of the Week on TSN Doubleheader Headlines Broadcast Slate

Eight games to go. And plenty still to be settled as the National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, concludes “The March to May” with a slate of contests that all matter for playoff qualification, seeding, or, in many cases, both.

Six teams are in, and five more are grabbing at the final two slots. And it could come down to the season’s very last game, Philadelphia Wings at Rochester Knighthawks on Sunday, to have it all sorted through.

Here are 10 things to know about the NLL entering Week 21:

  • TV Time: The drama that the end of the NLL regular season is a dream for broadcast networks, and there is plenty of linear TV to go with the ESPN+ and TSN+ coverage this weekend:
    • The NLL Game of the Week on TSN doubles fans’ pleasure on Saturday with Colorado at Halifax (6:30 p.m. ET, also Altitude Sports) followed by Panther City at Calgary (9 p.m. ET)
    • The ESPNU audience draws the defending champion Buffalo Bandits, in a four-way logjam of teams looking to get a home date next week, at Las Vegas (10 p.m. ET).
    • And the NLL Saturday Showcase pits another team in seek of a top four seed, Albany, vs. New York, fighting for a a spot in the playoffs.(7:30 p.m. ET, also My4, MSG Network)
    • Three other games will get local TV simulcasts, with Peachtree Sports picking up the Rochester at Georgia matchup (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET), KUSI in San Diego taking the Seals vs. Vancouver (10 p.m. ET) and both Philly57 and CW Rochester grabbing the NLL Regular Season finale between Philadelphia and Rochester (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET)
  • In and Out: So what do we know about the playoffs, beginning next Friday through Sunday, April 25-28? The Toronto Rock (14-3) at No. 1 and San Diego Seals (12-5) at No. 2 are slotted, earning home floor advantage for the quarterfinal and, should they advance, the semifinals beginning the following weekend. Four more teams are in: the Albany FireWolves, Georgia Swarm and Buffalo Bandits, all at 10-7, and the Halifax Thunderbirds at 9-8. Looking to secure the final two spots are Panther City Lacrosse Club at 9-8, Vancouver Warriors, Saskatchewan Rush, and New York Riptide at 8-9, and Rochester Knighthawks at 6-10 with two games to play this weekend.
  • Tiebreaker, Tiebreaker, Break me a Tie: Here are the clinching scenarios for the five hopefuls:
    • Panther City Lacrosse Club (8-8) can clinch a playoff berth with:
      • A win at Calgary, OR
      • A San Diego win vs. Vancouver, OR
      • A Halifax win vs. Colorado, OR
      • A New York win vs. Albany, OR
      • A Toronto win at Saskatchewan.
    • Vancouver Warriors (8-9) can clinch a playoff berth with:
      • A New York loss vs. Albany, AND a Calgary loss vs. Panther City, AND a Saskatchewan loss vs. Toronto, AND a Rochester loss (either at Georgia OR vs. Philadelphia), OR
      • A win at San Diego AND at least one of the following:
      • A Colorado win at Halifax OR a Toronto win at Saskatchewan, OR
      • A New York win vs. Albany AND a Panther City win at Calgary.
    • Saskatchewan Rush (8-9) can clinch a playoff berth with:
      • A win vs. Toronto, AND
      • An Albany win at New York AND a Calgary win vs. Panther City, OR
      • A San Diego win vs. Vancouver OR a Halifax win vs. Colorado, AND at least one of the following:
        • An Albany win at New York OR a Calgary win vs. Panther City
    • New York Riptide (8-9) can clinch a playoff berth with:
      • A Vancouver loss at San Diego, AND a Calgary win vs. Panther City, AND a Saskatchewan loss vs. Toronto, AND a Rochester loss (either at Georgia OR vs. Philadelphia), OR
      • A win vs. Albany AND a San Diego win vs. Vancouver, AND at least one of the following:
        • A Panther City win at Calgary, OR
        • A Toronto win at Saskatchewan.
    • Rochester Knighthawks (6-10) can clinch a playoff berth with:
      • Two wins (at Georgia AND vs. Philadelphia), a Vancouver loss at San Diego, AND a New York loss vs. Albany, AND a Saskatchewan loss vs. Toronto
  • Home Sweet Home: As noted above, four teams are in the mix for the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, which bring with them a home game in the single-elimination NLL Quarterfinals next weekend:
    • Buffalo Bandits (10-7) clinch a home game if they beat Las Vegas AND either:
      • Rochester beats Georgia, OR
      • New York beats Albany
    • Georgia Swarm (10-7) clinch a home game if they beat Rochester, OR
      • Las Vegas beats Buffalo AND one of these happens:
        • Halifax beats Colorado
        • Albany beats New York
      • Calgary beats Panther City
    • Albany Firewolves (10-7) clinches a home game if they beat New York, OR
      • Rochester beats Georgia AND Halifax beats Colorado, OR
      • Rochester beats Georgia AND Calgary beats Panther City, OR
      • Rochester beats Georgia AND Las Vegas beats Buffalo, OR
      • Las Vegas beats Buffalo AND Halifax beats Colorado, OR
      • Las Vegas beats Buffalo AND Calgary beats Panther City
    • Panther City Lacrosse Club (9-8) clinches a home game if:
    • they win vs. CGY, and COL win vs. HFX, and NY win vs. ALB, and either:
      • LV win vs. BUF, or ROC win vs. GA
  • Bracketology: The League will release the quarterfinal playoff schedule Sunday after the regular season has concluded.
  • Power Grid: The adage “Never count out a Champion” certainly applies to this year’s Buffalo Bandits, whose status as the hunted every week took its toll early in the season. But Banditland has been aglow with the play of the home team recently, and Adam Levi rewards them with a move up two spots to #2 in the NLL.com Power Rankings heading into the regular season finale, behind Toronto, which has kept a pretty tight hold on the #1 slot. San Diego dips one with the loss to Saskatchewan and the Swarm dip one to #4 on their bye. Vancouver continues its late season surge, up a tick to #5.
  • Back to Back…: Buffalo’s Josh Byrne (New Westminster, B.C.) and Chase Fraser (Vancouver) had a unique back-to-back on Saturday vs. Calgary, which made the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 as No. 9… Byrne’s behind the back pass fed Fraser, who went behind his back for the goal. Sam LeClair (Welland, Ont.) of Philadelphia also earned a top 10 on Friday night with this sneaky goal vs. Colorado.
  • LAXMetrics Playoff Talk: In the final installment of the year of LAXMetrics Powered by NLL, Cooper Perkins looks deeper into the numbers to assess Panther City Lacrosse Club’s chances in the postseason. He makes a case that the recent expansion team might be the team no one wants to face next week.
  • Teat, Smith, Byrne Look to Secure Stat Crowns: It will take some doing for someone to unseat the current offensive statistical leaders in the final game of the season. New York’s Jeff Teat (Brampton, Ont.) (54 goals) is four ahead of Buffalo’s Josh Byrne and six better than San Diego’s Austin Staats (Six Nations, Ont.). Byrne’s teammate Dhane Smith (Kitchener, Ont.) is the runaway assists leader with 91, 15 more than Byrne. Byrne (126 assists) is three ahead of Teat and atop Smith by four in the most competitive race.
  • For the Fans: Promotions at NLL arenas this weekend center include:
    • Marvel Super Hero Nights in Georgia, where the Swarm take on the Knighthawks (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET), and in Rochester, where the Knighthawks battle the Wings (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET)
    • Tucker Out Lymphoma supporting children’s cancer research in Las Vegas (vs. Buffalo, Saturday, 7 p.m. PT)
    • Fan Appreciation events in San Diego, Halifax, New York, Saskatchewan, Calgary (with Roughnecks Rodeo),

Schedule – Week 21 (All Times Eastern)

Friday

  • Rochester Knighthawks (6-10) at Georgia Swarm (10-7), 7:30 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+ , Peachtree Sports (Mooneyham, Hanover, Hoffman)
  • Vancouver Warriors (8-9) at San Diego Seals (12-5), 10 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+, KUSI (Perkins, Ossello, Michaels)

Saturday

  • Colorado Mammoth (5-12) at Halifax Thunderbirds (9-8), 6:30 p.m., NLL Game of the Week on TSN, ESPN+, Altitude Sports (Abbott, Gregoire, Docking)
  • Albany FireWolves (10-7) at New York Riptide (8-9), 7:30 p.m., NLL Saturday Showcase, ESPN+, TSN+, My4, MSG Network (Leno, Belisle, Delvecchio)
  • Toronto Rock (14-3) at Saskatchewan Rush (8-9), 9 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+ (Janzen, Fraser, Ahmad)
  • Panther City Lacrosse Club (9-8) at Calgary Roughnecks (7-10), 9 p.m., NLL Game of the Week on TSN, ESPN+ (T. Jenner, Challoner, Chand)
  • Buffalo Bandits (10-7) at Las Vegas Desert Dogs (5-12), 10 p.m., NLL on ESPN, ESPNU, TSN+ (Perkins, Elliott, Werth)

Sunday

  • Philadelphia Wings (6-11) at Rochester Knighthawks (6-10*), 3 p.m., ESPNU, TSN+, Philly57, CW Rochester (Rybczynski, McDaniels, Mossbrooks)
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