There will be a new champion in the National Lacrosse League after Colorado dethroned the Rush. The top two seeds in the West are eliminated, while the East pits arguably the most storied NLL rivalries head-to-head.
One game – win and your ticket is punched to the Finals!
NLL staff members Andy McNamara, Devan Kaney, and Brian Shanahan deliver their game predictions every week.
Send us your picks @NLL on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the specific game hashtags for each match-up below.
2019 Game Picks Playoff Standings:
On to the predictions!
Colorado Mammoth (#4) at Calgary Roughnecks (#3) – Friday, 9pm ET
Tweet @NLL using #COLvsCGY
Saskatchewan may have swept the regular season series, but the Mammoth won when it really counted and sent the defending champ’s home. On the other side Calgary edged out San Diego 12-11 to finish a remarkable expansion campaign for the Seals.
Now what?! It’s the Mammoth that beat the Roughnecks two games to one in regular season play so I have no doubt this will be decided by a single goal. Colorado’s defense is stellar, however, Calgary combines a solid back end with better scoring. Roughnecks advance.
I love seeing an underdog prove everyone wrong – trust me, I’m from Philly – but do I think the Mammoth can do it 2 weeks in a row? Not versus the Roughnecks who have been ON FIRE since the end of the regular season. I gotta go with Calgary in this matchup.
Toronto Rock (#3) at Buffalo Bandits (#1) – Saturday, 7:30pm ET
Tweet @NLL using #TORvsBUF
Buffalo did what they were expected to do in dominating New England to continue their playoff drive. The Rock went into a place they’ve had trouble winning at in the past and controlled Georgia for most of the night, outside of a late Swarm surge.
Throw the records and location out the window when Buffalo and Toronto hook up. The Rock defeated the Bandits twice in three meetings during 2018/19, but in the first encounter goaltender Matt Vinc had an off night getting used to his new team. He’s been an all-star ever since. Let’s not sell Nick Rose of the Rock short either who’s playing at an elite level himself.
Both clubs can score, hit, and be dangerous on special teams. This comes down to which goalie makes that one extra crucial save. It’s a pick’em, and I can’t wait to watch it!
This might be the hardest game for me to pick of the season, so I have to just go with my gut feeling here. On paper, the Bandits are clearly the favored team in this matchup, but Toronto was the ONLY team to defeat Buffalo twice in the regular season and won the season series. The Rock know how to win close games and I definitely think this is going to be a close one.
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Andy McNamara has been a play-by-play commentator for the NLL on TSN, B/R Live, 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.