Play It Forward: May 6-12 on your sports calendar

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 4: Today at 7 p.m., Staples Center, FSW:
No one’s ready to kiss off these Kings. Yet. If their best Stanley Cup defense comes from a bunch of defensemen finally scoring goals — or sparked by one of their celebrity followers tongue wrestling with the team’s mascot – so be it. This summer’s playoff path has already started with a much different script from a season ago, but that’s sometimes how sequels go in Hollywood. Close calls will continue to define this opening series, and both teams now it heading into the home-and-home-and-home-and-home stretch. “We knew what we were in for,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock after Game 3’s 1-0 Kings win. “This at where it is at, probably accurate where it is right now. It is a hell of a battle and it won’t be any different (tonight). There is not much difference between the two teams. Both goalies are on top of their game.” Home, at least tonight, plays into the Kings’ favor: They’ve won eight in a row at Staples Center, including the last seven regular season games while compiling a 19-4-1 mark at home.  Still, they’ve only rallied from a 0-2 series deficit once in franchise history, beating Detroit in 2001.
The rest of the series:
Game 5: 6 p.m. Wednesday at St. Louis, FSW
Game 6: 7 p.m. Friday at Staples Center, Prime
(Note: Game 7 is Monday, May 13 at St. Louis if necessary)

NHL PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS:
DUCKS vs. DETROIT
Game 4: 5 p.m. Today at Detroit, KDOC:
As long as the Red Wings continue to pull stupid moves on the ice to wake up the sleeping Ducks, there’s a chance this will end mid-week in Anaheim. No word if the Ducks’ Toni Lydman will be in any shape to play tonight after the hit he took from Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader in Game 2.
The rest of the series:
Game 5: 7 p.m. Wednesday at Honda Center, Prime
Game 6: TBA Friday at Detroit, KDOC
Game 7: TBA Sunday at Honda Center, FSW

BEST OF THE REST:

MONDAY

MLB: DODGERS vs. ARIZONA, 7 p.m., Dodger Stadium, Prime:
Josh Beckett’s slow-motion approach to grinding out an 0-4 mark this season has given us some flashbacks to Jason Schmidt. Does it seem as if he’s been counting every one of the 15.75 million dollars he’s due to make this season? As he lumbers back to the mound Tuesday night, take note that his other start this year against the D’backs was a complete-game, nine-strikeout, 1-0 loss at Arizona on April 14 (time of game: two hours, 26 minutes). Since then he’s given up 13 earned runs and 20 hits in 15 innings.
The rest of the series:
Tuesday at 7 p.m., Prime
Wednesday at 7 p.m., Channel 9 (with Clayton Kershaw scheduled to pitch)

TUESDAY

MLB: ANGELS at HOUSTON, 5 p.m., FSW:
The fact C.J. Wilson has somehow fashioned a 3-0 record with a 4.04 ERA shows more of his Houdini skills than anything else – 22 walks and 34 hits allowed in 35 2/3 innings seem Blanton-esque. This is the first of two starts this week for the left-hander.  Keep your head on your shoulders.
The rest of the series:
Wednesday, 5 p.m., Channel 13
Thursday, 5 p.m., FSW

THURSDAY

GOLF: PGA THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., first round, 10 a.m., Golf Channel:
Robert Allenby holds the current longest streak of playing 36 rounds at the TPC Sawgrass without hitting a ball in the water at the iconic Par 3 17th island hole. A lot of good that did him – he was tied 61st a year ago, 17 shots behind winner Matt Kuchar, who had a birdie, par and back-to-back bogeys on the last two days at that dubious hole. He still won by two strokes. Tiger Woods, tied for 40th at one-under, has committed to being in the field again.
Golf Channel has the first two rounds (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday), with NBC carrying the last two (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday).

FRIDAY

MLB: DODGERS vs. MIAMI, 7 p.m., Dodger Stadium, Prime:
What’s left of the Dodgers pitching staff at least doesn’t have to worry about seeing Giancarolo Stanton standing in the middle of the messy Marlins’ lineup. The former Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks slugger is out until about June with a bad hamstring. You can still take mom to the park on Mother’s Day if she’s OK with that Sunday.
The rest of the series:
Saturday at 6 p.m., Prime (with the Bark in the Park promotion)
Sunday at 1 p.m., Prime

MLB: ANGELS at CHICAGO WHITE SOX, 5 p.m., FSW:
These pale hose are in the bottom five in all of baseball in runs scored, batting average and on-base percentage. No wonder Paul Konerko (and his .227 average) has had no one to drive in lately. Check this stat: Konerko’s homer recently against Toronto was the 425th of his big-league career, and 418th in a White Sox uniform – more than what Ken Griffey Jr. did with the Seattle Mariners. The other seven homers in Konerko’s career? Four were with the Dodgers his rookie season of 1998 before they unloaded him to Cincinnati.
The rest of the series:
Saturday at 4 p.m., FSW
Sunday at 5 p.m., ESPN

SUNDAY

CYCLING: TOUR OF CALIFORNIA STAGE 1:
2 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Network
Before heading to Palmdale and Santa Clarita for Stages 3 and 4, the annual trek begins this year in Escondito for the 102-mile circle up from near sea level to past a mile high above Mt. Palomar. Then its seven days of racing all next week heading up to San Francisco.

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