NLL Weekend Preview: Week 19; The West is Settled, The East is Next #PrayersForHumboldt

Photo Credit: Dave Fryer

   The West has been decided after last weeks games and now all that is to be decided is the East. Honestly, the East will either look more clear or more crazy after this weekend and who really knows. Now, last week Saskatchewan beat Colorado which allowed the Rush to clinch the West.
So, Saskatchewan will be the #1 team in the west and advance to the Western Conference finals. Colorado is the #2 team and Calgary is the #3 team. Those two will battle it out in the Western Conference semi-final game. Colorado has historically been better than Calgary in playoff games or series against each other, but that could certainly change. Now, we all know that the East is one big mess and that we could potentially end up with every team in the east being 8-8. That would just be insane. I can't mentally do all the math of the tie breakers so I suggest you go read Evan Schemenaur's post on Lacrosse All Stars. At the end of the post he gets into the tiebreaker situation. It really is crazy. According to Evan's post on Lacrosse All Stars there are 10 possible scenarios for a three way tie at the top. That is how tight the east is and has been all season.

   I do want to mention the tragedy that happened in Humboldt over the weekend. It really is an awful and tragic event. I was very touched by all the tributes that I saw at NLL games all weekend. Also, other pro sporting events held moments of silence as well. The best one by far was the Saskatchewan Rush tribute. Saskatoon and Humboldt are just an hours drive away from each other. So, this event hit the Rush the most since it was right in their own backyard. Here is a clip from the Rush vs Mammoth game where the entire crowd is chanting Lets Go Broncos. It was at a TV timeout and the Referees even delayed the game so that the chant could continue. It's really awesome!

  Now, let's get into what the action looks like for week 19. Well, for starters we have five games on tab this weekend as there will be games on Friday and Sunday night. The games in the East will be the ones that matter the most. The West teams still want to play hard and try to win, but they don't need a win. This week may see some west teams rest their starters, in particular their goalies.

Friday, April 13th

   Toronto Rock (7-8) vs Rochester Knighthawks (8-7)

       The biggest storyline here is whether Tom Schreiber will return for the Rock or not. Schreiber has been out with a knee injury (PCL tear) since week 10. It was originally reported that Schreiber would miss 6-8 weeks, it's been 7 weeks now, he warmed up with the team last week but did not play. So, that would be huge for the Rock if he played, obviously he wouldn't be 100% through. Rochester is currently #1 in the east and they will certainly want to keep that status. I really think this is Rochester's game to loose, even though they are playing in Toronto. 

   Vancouver Stealth (2-13) vs Saskatchewan Rush (12-3) 

      This game really does not mean anything at all since the west is set. Saskatchewan is the top team in the west and in the league while Vancouver is the worst. In this game I can see Saskatchewan resting their starters more than usual. The only thing Vancouver has left to fight for is bragging rights, I guess. 

Saturday, April 14th

   Colorado Mammoth (10-6) vs New England Blackwolves (7-8)

      Again, this game really means nothing to Colorado as they have already clinched a playoff birth. Colorado should rest some of their starters, so that can help New England. The Blackwolves need a win to help them get into the playoffs. This is a perfect situation for New England to go to Colorado and get a win.

   Calgary Roughnecks (6-9) vs Buffalo Bandits (8-7)

      Calgary is already in the playoffs and Buffalo is looking to get a win to help boost their playoff hopes. This is a great opportunity for Buffalo to get a win because Calgary will probably rest their starters more than usual. 

   Saskatchewan Rush (12-3) vs Georgia Swarm (8-7)

      This game will be a rematch of the 2017 Champions Cup Finals. So, yes this will be fun to watch but I'm not sure it will be the best game of the week. This will be Saskatchewan's second game this weekend, so I can see them resting guys that played Friday, or vice versa. Now, Georgia really needs a win to boost their playoff push in the east. Also, this game will be the Twitter game of the week. Another thing Special about this game is that on behalf of the NLL, the Rush and Swarm will run a jersey auction for this game that will benefit Humboldt

Watch / Stream
Friday, April 13th
7:30 PM ET
Friday, April 13th
10:30 PM ET
Saturday, April 14th
9:00 PM ET
New England
NLL TV / Altitude TV
Saturday, April 14th
9:00 PM ET
Saturday, April 14th
9:30 PM ET
NLL TV / Twitter