AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
Kings center Michal Handzus is tangled up with San Jose’s Dany Heatley during a third-period scuffle in Saturday’s Game 5 of their Stanley Cup playoff series. The Kings won to stave off elimination.
Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
NHL playoffs: Kings vs. San Jose, Game 6: Staples Center, 7 p.m., Prime:
Rocco’s Old School Tattoo Balm may not be able to cover up the way the Sharks have tattooed the Kings for much of this Stanley Cup opening-round series. But the fact there’s at least one more game squeezed out, in front of the Kings’ loyal towel wavers, says something about the character of this young squad. The Kings, who killed all four of San Jose’s power plays in Saturday’s brink-of-elimination contest, have knocked out 18 of 20 in the series. Anyone up for a seventh game? That would be Wednesday at San Jose.
MLB: Dodgers at Florida, 4:10 p.m., Channel 9:
Since early Cy Young candidate Josh Johnson pitched Sunday against Colorado, Florida won’t have its ace for this series. It might not matter. Andre Ethier’s 21-game hitting streak will go up against a team with, for starters, has one of the best bullpens in the league with a combined ERA in the 1.60 range, and opposing hitter are struggling just to post a batting average of about .180 against them. Ricky Nolasco (2-0, 3.00), coming off seven shutout innings with eight Ks against Pittsburgh last time out, pitches Tuesday against Clayton Kershaw (4 p.m., Channel 9). Then Anabel Sanchez, who nearly threw a no-hitter at Colorado in his last start, comes back in the final game of this series on Wednesday against Chad Billingsley (9 a.m., Prime).
MLB: Angels vs. Oakland, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
How is Jered Weaver (5-0, 1.23 ERA) doing it? Scouts say the Angels’ 6-foot-7 right hander out of Northridge is using his slider more often than usual. In a win at Texas last week, he threw 32 sliders among his 119 pitches, with 16 of them down and away. Yes, they measure things that closely. Even more: The last time he threw the slider 25 percent or more of the time was a 15-strikeout effort against Toronto on April 10. He’s throwing the pitch 30.2 percent of the time this season against righties, as opposed to just 23.0 percent of the time the previous two seasons. We can’t make that stuff up. Weaver goes tonight against the A’s Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 1.80) and the series continues Tuesday (7 p.m., FSW, Tyler Chatwood vs. Brandon McCarthy) and Wednesday (4 p.m., FSW, Dan Haren vs. Tyson Ross) with the top two pitching staffs in the American League going head to head.
NBA playoffs: Portland at Dallas, Game 5: 5:30 p.m., NBA TV:
Each team has won the two games on their home court, but the Blazers’ comeback last Saturday night could be a huge psychological blow to the Mavs. Now they’re going neck and neck to see which series finishes first — this one, or the Lakers-Hornets. With Game 6 set on Thursday, both series could go the distance until a Saturday Game 7 — and if both the Lakers and Mavs prevail, they’d certainly not be as well rested as they’d have liked.
NBA playoffs: Lakers vs. New Orleans, Game 5: 7:30 p.m., Channel 9, TNT:
Kobe Bryant, zero for the first half. Yup, that’s a strategy that seems to work well if the Lakers want to avoid a seventh game of this thing (which would be Saturday night back at Staples Center). They already knew what Chris Paul could do. Now they know Jarrett Jack. And whether its Jack Nicholson, Jack Black or Jack in the Box sitting courtside for this one, there’s a crazy chance that they haven’t seen the last of the pesky Hornets. A sixth game is now locked in for Thursday in New Orleans.
NBA playoffs: Memphis vs. San Antonio, Game 5: 5:30 p.m., NBA TV:
The eight-seeded Grizzles are actually in position to close this series out against the Western Conference champs. Miami (4 p.m., TNT) and Oklahoma City (7:30 p.m., TNT) are also about to finish off their series against Philadelphia and Denver.
NFL Draft: First round, 5 p.m., ESPN, NFL Network:
USC tackle Tyron Smith, left, has plenty of upside — some mock pickers have him going in the Top 10, perhaps as the Dallas Cowboys’ next insurance policy for Tony Romo. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton has some nagging downside — does his inexperience make him a one-hit college wonder, or will the Carolina Panthers go ahead and make him the No. 1 overall pick because they have no faith in Jimmy Clausen? And then there’s Marcell Dareus, above, the 6-foot-3, 319-pound defensive tackle out of Alabama who can knock just anyone sideways. Will he be available for the Denver Broncos at No. 2? The NFL might be buried in labor talks, but there are plenty of ESPN and NFL Network analysts laboring over their big boards, minute by minute, changing things around as they try to second- and third-guess the real GMs who will make the official selections in prime time. Again, the proceedings are spread over three days, with 3 1/2 hours allotted for the first round. The second and third rounds are Friday (ESPN2, NFL Network at 5 p.m.) with rounds 4-7 on Saturday (ESPN and NFL Network, 9 a.m.)
MLB: Dodgers vs. San Diego, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:
In their first 20 games, the Padres were held scoreless six times – worst in baseball. One of them was a 4-0 loss at San Diego to the Dodgers during the last time these two met three weekends ago. This series goes through Saturday (7 p.m., Prime) and Sunday (1 p.m., Prime), where they’re giving out retro 1981 World Series T-shirts. Remember that one 30 years ago? This three-game series against the Padres are the only meetings the Dodgers have with an NL West rival between April 14 and May 16.
MLB: Angels at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m., FSW:
Yes, these two just played a two-game series in the great indoors of St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field, and the Angels won both — 5-3 and 5-1, on April 5-6. That first one turned out to be Manny Ramirez’s last game. The series includes games Saturday (10 a.m., Channel 11) and Sunday (10:40 a.m., FSW).
NHL playoffs: Teams to be determined, noon, Channel 4:
Who’s looking for a little national exposure. NBC has set aside this window, as well as one more on Sunday.
MLS: Galaxy at Dallas, 4 p.m., FSW:
Something borrowed, something Becks: David Beckham has told the team he plans to be in England on Friday to attend Prince Williams’ wedding ceremony to Kate Middleton, then fly from Westminster Abbey to Pizza Hut Park in Dallas in time for the opening kickoff. In fact, by his calculations, he’ll even be there on Saturday before the team arrives.