We’ve waited for 20 weeks and now the National Lacrosse League postseason is finally here! The chase for the championship begins tonight and rolls right on through to Monday night in single elimination action.
It’s winner take all!
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.
2018-19 Game Picks Playoff Standings:
All hail Devan Kaney, the official Queen of the NLL regular season game picks! Now Shanny and I can fight for redemption as the playoffs put us back on even ground… on to the predictions!
Colorado Mammoth (#4) at Saskatchewan Rush (#1) – Friday, 9:30pm ET
Tweet @NLL using #COLvsSAS
Saskatchewan swept the three game season series, however, two of those contests they won by the score 9-7. Colorado is at its best when they can clamp down on defense, hang around, and pounce late with goal totals under 10.
It’s incredibly tough to beat the same team four times in a year, but the Rush at home combined with the way they’ve been playing… I say it happens. SASK moves on.
So, this week we established that the Rush are comparable to the Patriots of the NLL (***NOT IN THE CHEATING WAY) in that they know how to win and have consistently made the postseason since 2015. Colorado has talent, but a lot of that talent lies in young players who have never played in the NLL Playoffs before. I have to go with experience in this matchup.
New England Black Wolves (#4) at Buffalo Bandits (#1) – Saturday, 7:30pm ET
Tweet @NLL using #NEvsBUF
Anything is possible in the NLL and Callum Crawford alone gives the Black Wolves a puncher’s chance here. I’ve wracked my brain and outside of an in-game injury I just don’t see many ways the Bandits lose here.
Goaltender Matt Vince is playing at an all-star level, while the Buffalo offense and defense are as strong as ever. New England keeps this matchup competitive, but Banditland goes home happy Saturday night.
The Bandits have been consistently dominant throughout the season, and while the Black Wolves have had some strong performances, I just don’t see them putting up enough points against Buffalo goalie Matt Vinc to get a win.
Toronto Rock (#3) at Georgia Swarm (#2) – Monday, 7:30pm ET
Tweet @NLL using #TORvsGA
Wow put this in the pick’em category for me. I see this being decided by a late 4th quarter goal and maybe overtime. The Rock are the healthiest they’ve been in a while with big defenders Brock Sorensen and Sheldon Burns back.
However, the Swarm are a different beast at home and much like the Rush, can flip a switch come playoff time. Sit back with some popcorn and enjoy the ride.
We all expect this to be the closest matchup of the Division Semi-Finals – and I truly have no clue what is going to happen. The last time the Rock played the Swarm in Georgia, it didn’t end so well for them. But so many factors are at play here – we still don’t know if Swarm goalie Mike Poulin is 100% or how Nick Rose will hold it down in net for the Rock, but at the end of the day I think Tom Schreiber and the Rock will come out on top.
Calgary Roughnecks (#3) at San Diego Seals (#2) – Monday, 10:30pm ET
Tweet @NLL using #CGYvsSD
The second matchup in a rare Monday night double-header. This one has upset written all over it to me. San Diego just hasn’t been the same since the Austin Staats injury and Calgary is rounding into form.
I feel like the Roughnecks offense is too potent for the Seals to handle, especially with Christian Del Bianco in-between the pipes. It’s been a tremendous year for the expansion club from out West, but it comes to an end here.
The Roughnecks have had their ups and downs this season, but recently have been looking super swaggy while the Seals have been looking flat since Austin Staats went down. Gotta go with Calgary in this one – I think they could go all the way to the Finals if they keep their game up.
Make sure to catch all the NLL action on B/R Live.
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.