Road warriors

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

The Edmonton Rush need to know the way to San Jose.

The road to the National Lacrosse League playoffs runs through there.

On Sunday, the Rush begin a string of six consecutive road games. Two are in San Jose - the team the Rush are battling with for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division.

"This is a pretty big game for us," said Rush head coach and general manager Paul Day. "Our next goal is to get to .500, and every game down the stretch is a huge game. This is the big game in the way of the next big game and we have to make sure we're ready to play them."

Heading into the encounter both teams are tied for the final playoff spot with a 4-5 record.

Both are coming off impressive wins. And both know what to expect out of one another.

"Edmonton is a much different team than they were last year," said Stealth head coach Walt Christianson. "They've done a good job of changing their offensive dimension. We match up very similar. We've both got really good goaltending and we both have a pretty good offence."

Last week the Stealth scored 17 goals in a drubbing of the Portland LumberJax.

The Rush meanwhile got an outstanding performance from goaltender Curtis Palidwor who made 50 saves in a 12-9 win over the Toronto Rock. For his efforts, Palidwor was named defensive player of the week.

"His leadership in the room has been unbelievable," said Day of his goaltender. "We're a young team, especially on the defensive end and he's been unbelievable with our young guys. He's been an excellent addition for us, that's for sure."

Palidwor's heroics helped the Rush earn their first victory over Rock.

It also kept them right in the thick of the playoff race. Heading into the weekend even Calgary is in sight in third place with a 5-5 record.

"It was very important for our franchise to beat Toronto," said Day. "Everybody in Edmonton knows about the Rock and their success and for us being a young franchise it was good to be able to beat them.

"San Jose is a much different team, they're a lot younger, a lot faster, they moved the ball so well and they have lot of weapons now."

The Stealth won the teams' previous meeting of the season, overcoming a three-goal, halftime deficit en route to an 11-9 win at Rexall Place.

Last season the Stealth won both games against the Rush by a goal.

"This is a four-point game for both teams so it should be a great game," Christianson said. "We're really looking forward to it."


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