News | 4/16/2014 10:25:39 AM | Chris Ryndak
It seems like home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs for the Buffalo Bandits has been on the line for a few weeks now. While the team lost their first game of the season, they came back strong, winning five in a row and six-straight on their home floor at First Niagara Center.
However, since March 21, they’ve gone on a five-game losing streak that has seen their offensive production fizzle out.
With three games remaining, the Bandits (8-7) have already clinched a playoff berth and can lock up home-field advantage in the first round with either one win or one Toronto Rock loss in any remaining games. Buffalo has the opportunity to take care of its own business Friday night when they travel to play the Rock (7-9) at Air Canada Centre at 7 p.m.
Buffalo then plays the next night in Rochester against the Knighthawks at BlueCross Arena at 7:30 p.m. They close out the regular season at home with their fourth and final game against Rochester on April 26 at 7:30 p.m.
The Knighthawks (12-4) has already clinched the East Division title and home field through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
With the Philadelphia Wings (5-11) and Minnesota Swarm (4-12) already eliminated from postseason contention, the Rock has clinched a spot in the playoffs as well and they’ll be looking to jump Buffalo in the standings.
If the Bandits are able to win at least one game this weekend, their home playoff game will likely be played on May 3 at First Niagara Center.
Prior to the start of the season, the NLL changed the playoff format, reducing the number of teams who qualify for the playoffs from eight to six. The top three teams in each division qualify with no crossover. Rochester and the Edmonton Rush (15-1) have clinched their division titles and each will receive a first-round bye.
In the East, Buffalo will face Toronto in the Division Semifinals with home field obviously still up for grabs. In the West Division, the Calgary Roughnecks (10-6) will host the first-round playoff game, but their opponent is yet to be determined.
The Colorado Mammoth (6-10) can click a playoff berth with a win or a loss by the Vancouver Stealth. Conversely, the Stealth (4-11) will be eliminated with either a loss or a Mammoth win.
Colorado closes out the season on the road against Minnesota on Saturday and in Philadelphia on April 26.
To clinch a spot in the playoffs, the Stealth will have to go up against some pretty good teams. They host the Wings on Saturday, travel to Edmonton on April 25 and wrap up their regular season with a home game against Calgary on April 26.
The first round of the playoffs is still single-game elimination, but the Division Finals and Championship will have a new look.
The final two rounds of the playoffs have expanded to a two-game series. 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 seed hosting the second game of the series.
The team that wins both games will 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.