Play it forward: May 31-June 6 on your sports calendar

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:



(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Chicago Blackhawks right wing Tomas Kopecky celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Philadelphia Flyers in the third period of Game 1 on Saturday.

NHL: Stanley Cup Finals Game 2: Philadelphia at Chicago, 5 p.m., Channel 4:

The stat they kept showing during Game 1: Since the NHL went to a best-of-seven final in 1939, the team that won the opener of the series went on to become the Stanley Cup champion 77 percent of the time. But after watching the Blackhawks grind out that Game 1 victory, and knowing these Flyers don’t quit so quickly . .

MLB: Dodgers vs. Arizona, Dodger Stadium, 6 p.m., Prime:

An hour earlier start, for the post-game holiday fireworks. Kids, remind your parents of this, especially if you’re expecting to land a Manny Ramirez batting practice jersey given out to the first 15,000 youngins. Come earlier and see Andre Ethier actually taking real BP before what’s supposed to be his first game back from the DL.


MLB: Angels at Kansas City, 11 a.m., FSW:

The Angels already have it rough on the road. They’ll end up flying 50,509 miles this season — the most of any team in the big leagues. Now, we’re stunned that they still have to start this 14-day, 14-game road trip. You, too? U2 bailed out on their June 6-7 concert at Angels Stadium — Bono, needed emergency spinal surgery – so that need for a week’s lead time to build an elaborate stage is gone. But the Angels can’t bail on their commitment for this undesirable road trip. Starting in K.C., where we’ve heard, the streets have no name.


MLB: Dodgers vs. Arizona, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Channel 9:

John Ely, who couldn’t have done much better in his last outing at Chicago, got his first big-league win against the Dbacks back on May 11 when he outlasted Dan Haren. Who is today’s scheduled thrower for Arizona again.

MLB: Angels at Kansas City, 5 p.m., FSW:


NHL: Stanley Cup Finals Game 3: Chicago at Philadelphia, 5 p.m., Versus:

The series shifts to a place where bullies may still be living on Broad Street.

MLB: Dodgers vs. Arizona, Dodger Stadium, noon, Prime:

A nooner, sooner or later, helps the local economy. Besides, summer has officially started.

MLB: Angels at Kansas City, 5 p.m., FSW:

Quick, name the Royals’ manager. … Dick Howser? Whitey Herzog? Tony Pena? Yeah, we’re not sure, either, but we know one guy was already canned.


NBA Finals, Game 1: Lakers vs. Boston, Staples Center, 6 p.m., Channel 7:


The 12th Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals breaks a tie with the Dodgers-Yankees as the most common championship matchup in the four major sports. Tyler Conway at the (linked here) decided to rank the previous 11 in terms of which were the best of all time, starting with No. 11:

== 1959 (Celtics sweep, 4-0; the only sweep in the whole meetings);

== 1965 (Celtics win in five in a best three-out-of-five series; where their Game 4 win wasn’t seen to completion, since ABC cut away to previously scheduled programming).

== 2008 (Celtics win in six, including a 39-point win in the finale);


== 1968 (Celtics win in six);

== 1963 (Celtics win in six; in Bob Cousy’s last season);

== 1987 (Lakers in in six);

== 1966 (Celtics win in seven, because the Lakers fought back after being down 3-1 to push it to the limit, but Bill Russell had 32 rebounds in Game 7);

== 1969 (Celtics win in seven, after the Lakers won Games 1 and 2, and Jerry West was named series MVP);

== 1985 (Lakers win in six, and exorcize the Celtic curse);

== 1962 (Celtics win in seven, an overtime Game 7, where Russell had 30 points and 44 rebounds, Elgin Baylor had 44 and West added 30),

== The best: 1984 (Celtics win in seven, taking Games 2 and 4 in OT, Rambis is clotheslined . . . they don’t make ’em like that any more).

MLB: Angels at Kansas City, 11 a.m., FSW:

Last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, Zack Grienke, who’s off to a miserable 1-5 start despite a 3.57 ERA, should go on this day against the Angels’ Jered Weaver. And if you take out interleague play this season, Grienke’s ERA goes down to about 2.50.


MLB: Dodgers vs. Atlanta, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Channel 9:

It’s Matt Kemp Action Figure night giveaway. Figure this one out — Is Kemp really the Green Hornet, or are those just grass stains?


NHL: Stanley Cup Finals Game 4: Chicago at Philadelphia, 5 p.m., Versus:

The Flyers, who won only 41 of the 82 games they played in the regular season, are hoping to become only the third team with a .500-or-worse record to win the Stanley Cup. One of the previous two: The 1938 Blackhawks, at 14-25-9.

MLB: Dodgers vs. Atlanta, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

The Dodgers are promoting the start of this three-game series as ” ’70s Night,” and Greg “Barry Williams” Brady will sing the National Anthem and God Bless America. Maybe as Johnny Bravo. Because he does fit the suit.

MLB: Angels at Seattle, 7 p.m., FSW:

Three more with the Mariners, replaying last weekend’s series, but this time, Cliff Lee’s turn in the rotation is skipped. Shucks.


WNBA: Sparks vs. Seattle, Home Depot Center, 8 p.m., FSW:


Part of a “Get Outside & Play LA” campaign, the Sparks will go outdoors at the tennis stadium facility to play the Storm. What if there’s a storm? “Playing outside, beneath the stars will ensure an unforgettable evening for our players and fans,” said Sparks President Kristin Bernert. “But the game also provides a terrific opportunity for our athletes to inspire kids of all ages to lead healthier and more active lifestyles.” Tennis, anyone?

MLS: Galaxy vs. Houston, Home Depot Center, 5 p.m., FSW (delayed, 10 p.m.):

Not in the same facility as the Sparks’ game — but wouldn’t that be cool? A day after President Obama welcomes the defending MLS champion Real Salt Lake on a White House visit, the Galaxy face the team that they had to beat to get to that title game, before losing to them Lakers. So, even if they’d have won that title game, they couldn’t have made it for that D.C. trip because of this game on the schedule. See how things all work out. (Then the Galaxy gets to play Real Salt Lake at thier place next week).


MLB: Dodgers vs. Atlanta, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

The last time L.A. will ever see Bobby Cox get thrown out of a game in person? Maybe tonight. We hope.

MLB: Angels at Seattle, 1 p.m., FSW:

Saunders vs. Snell, like last Sunday, Part II.


NBA Finals: Game 2: Lakers vs. Boston, Staples Center, 5 p.m., Channel 7:

“We remember more than anything losing on our home court, a situation where we had some defensive lapses and they took advantage of it,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Celtics. “This year, we have homecourt advantage, and we look forward to the rematch with great intensity.” Meaning, going to Boston after this without a 2-0 advantage would be less than advantageous.

NHL: Stanley Cup Finals Game 5: Philadelphia at Chicago, 5 p.m., Channel 4:

They’ll still have the Michael Jordan statue outside the Untied Center in a Blackhawks’ jersey. Because, at some point in his career, he probably thought he could be a professional hockey player.

MLB: Angels at Seattle, 1 p.m., Ch. 13:

Have you got your freakin’ gnome in the mail yet? Me neither.

MLB: Dodgers vs. Atlanta, Dodger Stadium, 1 p.m., Prime:

The last time L.A. will ever see Chipper Jones play in a Braves’ uniform? Maybe today.


Running: San Diego Marathon, starts in Balboa Park, finish at Sea World, 6:15 a.m.:

AKA, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy among the performers, and a bunch of Elvi streaking around. The group that dresses up in Elvis costumes wants more participants, offering this suggestion about proper attire: No wig, no glasses, no outfit… Not a Running Elvi. There’ll be about 20,000 on the course, plus 30 stages with live music and 2,000 cheerleaders. According to the website (linked here), the participant perks include: Flat, scenic marathon & 1/2 marathon course, live local music every mile, spirited cheer squads lining the course, it’s a Boston qualifier, perfect running weather – 60s at the start, 70s at the finish, an exciting vacation destination, food and refreshments at the start and finish line, plentiful course support and aid stations, a fantastic finish line festival, free admission to post-race concert, a T-shirt, a medal, a certificate, age-division winners and one free beer at the finish-line festival. They sure buried the lead on that one. Keep that in mind — the Rock n’ Roll marathon is now a nationwide series, coming to L.A. on Oct. 24.

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