- Who: The week 21 selected winners from two National Lacrosse League Matchups this weekend
- What: The NLL regular season
- When: Saturday, April 23, 2022
- Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (home of the Riptide) & SaskTel Centre (home of the Rush)
As the National Lacrosse League edges closer towards the postseason, MTS is here with a fantastic week 21 showcase. In the first showdown of the weekend, the 9-7 Halifax Thunderbirds are jostling for playoff position with conference rival, the New York Riptide. In the second spotlight, the playoff-bound San Diego Seals will square off against the 6-10 Saskatchewan Rush in Canada. With playoff implications very much in play, these squads will have a lot to play for in each contest.
Below, MTS takes a deeper dive into what each team’s strengths are, where they fall short and ultimately, who will win in each of these NLL games.
|NLL Week 21 Weekend Picks||The Pick|
|Halifax vs. New York||Thunderbirds ML||-222||-222||-222|
|San Diego vs. Saskatchewan||Rush +1.5||-175||-175||-175|
First Matchup Spotlight: Thunderbirds vs. Riptide
What to look for from: The Halifax Thunderbirds
Coming off their second loss this season at the FirstOntario Centre, the Thunderbirds were dismantled by the 12-5 Toronto Rock, 15-7. While the NLL’s leading scorer, Tom Schreiber, was able to open up the contest with a score for Halifax, the Thunderbirds were unable to withstand the Rock’s onslaught. Halifax will continue their road trip this weekend with an upcoming game against the 6-10 Riptide. With prime playoff positioning on the line for the 9-7 Thunderbirds, they will make sure they have their best lineup in order. The Thunderbirds have struggled on the road this season though, going 2-5, which is a stark difference from their 7-2 mark at home.
What to look for from: The New York Riptide
One of the teams having a tougher season in the Eastern Conference, the Riptide are actually riding a two-game winning streak heading into the showdown with the Thunderbirds on Saturday. While their record reflects a 6-10 mark, the Riptide have had some bad breaks this year in some close games (-1 goal differential over 20 weeks of play). Saturday will be a rematch game for the Riptide against Halifax as the Thunderbirds were able to put away New York at home back in February, 13-10. However, things have been bouncing back for the Riptide since the beginning of March with the squad reeling off a 4-3 record.
Prediction: With playoff seeding very much in play here and the Thunderbirds needing to stake their claim in the East, look for Halifax to bounce back against the Riptide.
Second Matchup Spotlight: Seals vs. Rush
What to look for from: The San Diego Seals
Another squad that is looking to bolster their playoff position, the 9-7 Seals have already clinched a playoff berth in the Western Conference but are looking for more. Currently the No. 2 team in the West, the Seals have hit some hard times as of late with a five-game losing streak. Due to some tough breaks, the Seals have lost their last three games by a combined score of three total goals. After another heartbreaker at home, San Diego travels to Saskatchewan in an effort to right the ship against the struggling Rush. Even with this five game skid, the Seals are only one game behind the Colorado Mammoth for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
What to look for from: The Saskatchewan Rush
A team that has been having a long season, the 6-10 Rush are also in the midst of a nice two-game winning streak. While Saskatchewan has been strong at home this season (5-3), they have struggled mightily on the road this year with a 1-7 mark. Nonetheless, the Rush will be playing against the Seals at home, an arena where they have had success in. Though the Rush have had a -5 goal differential on the season, they actually outpace the Seals in a couple categories like penalty minutes and power play percentage.
Prediction: The Rush certainly have the makeup of a team that thrives at home so look for Saskatchewan to continue their four-game winning streak at home since the beginning of March.
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