News | 4/20/2010 1:54:19 PM | NLL.com
With the games of Week #15 (April 16-17) now in the books, one weekend of games remain in the 2010 regular season. Two playoff berths are still up for grabs in the East, and the seeding of playoff teams in the West is far from settled.
In the Eastern Division, the Orlando Titans are the division's regular season champions. The Toronto Rock have clinched second place. Three teams are in a fight to the finish for the final two playoff berths. The Boston Blazers (8-7), Buffalo Bandits (7-8) and Rochester Knighthawks (7-8) all enter the season's final weekend with a chance to clinch.
To add to the intrigue, Buffalo hosts Boston on Saturday, April 24 in the final regular season game for both teams. The winner of the game clinches. Boston can lose and still make the playoffs if Rochester loses to Washington.
In the event of a three-way 8-8 tie (Boston loss/Buffalo win & Rochester win), Buffalo and Rochester clinch, while Boston would miss the playoffs. In the first tie-breaker, head to head matchups, Buffalo and Rochester would each be a combined 3-2 vs. the other two teams in the tie-breaker, where Boston would be 1-3. Rochester and Buffalo then go the next step of record against divisional opponents, where Buffalo would be 7-5 to Rochester's 6-6. Buffalo wins the tie-breaker. The tie-breaker is then re-applied to Boston and Rochester. The teams split the season series 1-1. Rochester wins on the next step of the tie-breaker, with a record against the Eastern Division of 6-6 to to Boston's 4-7 for the season.
If Buffalo and Rochester both lose and end in a 7-9 tie, Boston clinches with a 9-7 record, and Rochester wins the tie-breaker over Buffalo by virtue of winning the season's head to head series with Buffalo, two games to one. In this scenario Boston and Rochester clinch, and Buffalo does not reach the playoffs.
In the Western Division the four playoff teams are set, but the only team that knows its exact seed is the Minnesota Swarm (5-10), who will finish fourth. The Edmonton Rush (10-6) have finished their regular season schedule, and can still finish first, second or third in the division, depending on how the Washington Stealth (10-5) and Calgary Roughnecks (9-6) fare in their final games.
Edmonton would win a tie-breaker with Washington because they won the season head-to-head series, two games to one. The Rush would lose a tie-breaker to Calgary, as the Roughnecks won their season series, 2-1. In the event of a three-way tie between the teams at 10-6, the tie-breakers would be applied, and the order of finish would be 1) Washington 2) Calgary 3) Edmonton.
Each of the three teams went a combined 3-3 against the other two. The second tie-breaker, winning percentage against divisional opponents, gives Washington the win. The Stealth went 8-4 against their division opponents this season. Edmonton went 7-4, and Calgary would have gone 6-5. The tie-breakers are then re-applied between Calgary and Edmonton to determine who finishes in second place. Calgary wins the tie-breaker by virtue of having won the season head-to-head series against Edmonton.
Here are the team-by-team scenarios, entering the final weekend of the 2010 season (Week #16, Games on April 23 - 24)
ORLANDO TITANS (9-5): Have clinched the Eastern Division regular season title. Will host the #4 Eastern Team in a Divisional Semifinal Playoff Game on the weekend of April 30 - May 2. Can clinch the Top Overall Seed in the Playoffs with two wins (at Philadelphia & at Minnesota) AND a Washington loss to Rochester OR one win AND a Washington loss AND a Calgary loss.
TORONTO ROCK (9-7): Have clinched a playoff berth and a second place finish. Will host the #3 Eastern Team in a Divisional Semifinal Playoff Game on Saturday, May 1 at Air Canada Centre.
BOSTON BLAZERS (8-7): Can clinch a playoff berth with a win at Buffalo OR a Rochester loss to Washington.
ROCHESTER KNIGHTHAWKS (7-8): Can clinch a playoff berth with a win over Washington OR a Buffalo loss to Boston.
BUFFALO BANDITS (7-8): Can clinch a playoff berth with a win over Boston.
PHILADELPHIA WINGS (5-10): Eliminated from playoff contention.
WASHINGTON STEALTH: (10-5) Have clinched a playoff berth and at least a second place finish (opening round home playoff game on May 1). Can clinch the Western Division regular season title with a win OR a Calgary win. Can clinch the Top Overall Seed in the playoffs with a win OR a Calgary win AND at least one Orlando loss.
EDMONTON RUSH: (10-6) Have clinched a playoff berth. Can clinch at least a second place finish (home playoff game) with a Calgary loss to Colorado. Can clinch the Western Division regular season title with a Calgary loss to Colorado AND a Washington loss to Rochester. Can clinch the Top Overall Seed in the playoffs with losses by Calgary, Washington AND two Orlando losses.
CALGARY ROUGHNECKS: (9-6) Have clinched a playoff berth. Can clinch a second place finish (opening round home playoff game) with a win over Colorado.
MINNESOTA SWARM: (5-10) Have clinched a playoff berth and a fourth place finish. Will open the playoffs at the #1 Western Team in a Divisional Semifinal Playoff Game on the weekend of April 30 - May 2.
COLORADO MAMMOTH: (4-11): Eliminated from playoff contention.
About the National Lacrosse League 2010 Playoffs:
Eight teams will advance to the playoffs, the first through fourth place teams in the Eastern and Western Divisions at the end of the regular season. The NLL Playoffs remain in single-game elimination format. All games are hosted by the higher-seeded team. Key dates are as follows:
April 24: End of Regular Season
April 30 - May 2: Playoffs begin, Divisional Semifinal Games (four games)
May 7 - May 9: Divisional Finals (two games)
May 14 - 16: 2010 NLL Championship Game (one game)