Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
NHL PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS:
KINGS vs. ST. LOUIS
Game 1: 5 p.m. Tuesday at St. Louis, Prime, CNBC:
If the Kings proved anything during last year’s out-of-the-blue Stanley Cup run, it’s that home ice doesn’t matter when you’re blindsiding higher-regarded opponents. But these Kings are on the radar this time. Any problem with that?
The Kings may have swept the Blues away in last season’s Western Conference semifinals, and in three regular-season games this year, but St. Louis has rebuilt itself in the last month-plus. Aside from notable trades for defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Jordan Leopold, goaltender Brian Elliott hit a stride and the team finished on a 12-3 tear. The Kings’ 7-3-2 record in April is distinctly Staples Center friendly – 7-0 at home. That could make the difference here as Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has not come up as dominant in road games (5-9-3) this season. “We’ve caught a few bounces along the way, but that’s not going to play at all into Game 1,” Quick said. “We both start zero-zero and we’re just going to have to outwork them. They’ve got some big forwards, strong forwards — they go hard at the net, strong on the back end, a couple of skilled guys that can really create stuff on the power play so they got great goal tending. They’re going to bring similar challenges a lot like the other teams in the top eight are going to bring and I think it’s just going to come down to … we got to outwork them in order to get some wins.”
Game 2 is 6:30 p.m. Thursday in St. Louis, CNBC
Game 3 is 7 p.m. Saturday at Staples Center, NBC Sports Network
DUCKS vs. DETROIT
Game 1: 7:30 p.m. at Honda Center, FSW, NBC Sports Net:
The Ducks may have inexpertly cruised to the Pacific Division title, but they sputtered to a 7-5-1 mark in April and have two equally good, but not hot, goalies. The Red Wings rallied to make the playoffs for a 22nd consecutive season, winning their last four in a row and continue to get healthier under former Ducks coach Mike Babcock. Goalie Jimmy Howard had two shutouts in that four-game streak, and beat the Kings 3-1.
Game 2: 7 p.m. Thursday at Honda Center, NBC Sports Network
Game 3: 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Detroit, NBC Sports Network
BEST OF THE REST:
MLB: DODGERS vs. COLORADO, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:
We see an “I See You” Hanley Ramirez bobble head giveaway in your future during this series against the division-leading Rockies — call it Tuesday (7:10 p.m., Channel 9), on the night that the shortstop claims he could be playing in his first game of the season. How about a game-winning grand slam. Like that other Ramirez guy once did.
The series ends Wednesday (7:10 p.m., Prime)
MLB: ANGELS at OAKLAND, 7 p.m., FSW:
In sweeping away the Angels’ first home series back on April 9-11, the Swingin’ A’s outscored them by a combined 28-11.
The rest of the series is Tuesday (7 p.m., Channel 13) and Wednesday (12:35 p.m., FSW)
NBA PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS:
CLIPPERS vs. MEMPHIS
Game 5: 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center, TNT, Prime:
The team that controls the boards has won each game of the series. Memphis had a ridiculous 45-28 advantage in Game 4, 13-5 on offensive rebounds. Moving forward, they might want to consider just throwing Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph into an octagon to settle things.
Game 6: TBA Friday at Memphis
Game 7: TBA Sunday at Staples Center (if necessary)
NBA PLAYOFFS: EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS:
BOSTON at NEW YORK, 4 p.m., TNT:
Game 5 of the series should spell the end for the Celtics. They put up a better fight than the Lakers.
ANGELS vs. BALTIMORE, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
The Dodgers have already played the Orioles this season, but the Angels haven’t? To divert attention, the Angels are giving away plaid fedora hats to customers on Saturday (1 p.m., Channel 11).
The four-game series includes games Friday (7 p.m., Channel 13) and Sunday (12:35 p.m., FSW)
MLB: DODGERS at SAN FRANCISCO, 7 p.m., Prime:
They opened the season with the Giants taking two of three from the Dodgers, with Sergio Romo saving both of them. He’s only blown one save try this season. Nope, just isn’t the same without Brian Wilson.
The rest of the series is Saturday (6 p.m., Prime) and Sunday (5 p.m., ESPN).
HORSE RACING: 139th KENTUCKY DERBY, Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., 3:20 p.m., Channel 4:
If common sense is a factor, pull out the wallet for Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents. The colt trained by Doug O’Neal (who had last year’s Derby winner I’ll Have Another) has more star power having Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino and his recent national title in as a co-owner. Goldencents has also run six times in his career and missed the payoff board just once. Trainer Todd Pletcher may start six in the 20-horse field — including early favorite Revolutionary, with three-time Derby winning jockey Calvin Borel.
BOXING: FLOYD MAYWEATHER vs. ROBERT GUERRERO
6 p.m., MGM Grand Gardena Arena, Las Vegas, Showtime PPV, $59.95 ($69.95 HD):
Pretty Boy Floyd cashes his “Get Out of Jail” card in what’s being hyped as his eagerly awaited return to the ring to defend his WBC welterweight title and 43-0 pro record. Pound for pound, this could get ugly as Mayweather starts a new $200 million, six-deal contract for Showtime. What if the 36-year-old loses right off the bat? He can always go back to “Dancing With the Stars (Ninth place finish, season five, one spot below Mark Cuban).”
LEGENDS FOOTBALL LEAGUE:
LOS ANGELES TEMPTATION vs. SEATTLE MIST
8 p.m., Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario
The organization formerly known as the Lingerie Football League attains legendary status as the three-time defending champion Temptation will reveal another banner. Temptation QB Ashley Salerno (left), with two rushing TDs, two passing TDs and two conversion runs, led the team to a 31-18 road win in Chicago to open the season. Hut, hut, hike up your bikini bottom.
NCAA MEN’S FINAL, 6 p.m., UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion:
Defending national champion UC Irvine faces Loyola of Chicago (6 p.m.) and BYU takes on Penn State (8 p.m.) in Thursday’s semifinals to figure out who gets to go this far.
MLS: GALAXY vs. HOUSTON
8 p.m., Home Depot Center, ESPN2:
The plan is to give out 10,000 Landon Donovan bobble heads (not actual size, right). Even better if he’s on the pitch, having missed the 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake with a leg problem for the 4-1-2 Galaxy.