Weekend Sports Preview April 29-30

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This is the final weekend of curling for the 2016-17 season with significant events in Alberta on the World Curling Tour and World Curling Federation. On Saturday, the semi-finals and finals take place for the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Lethbridge. Canada is represented by world champion Joanne Courtney of Edmonton and Canada Cup champion Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg. In the semi-finals, Canada will play China (TSN, 11 a.m. PT) and Switzerland will play the Czech Republic. The gold medal game will take place on Saturday at 3 p.m. PT on TSN.

It was a great day for Carruthers and Courtney on Friday. The Canadians beat two teams who were previously undefeated—Scotland and Latvia. Team Canada had their best day of the tournament by dominating Scotland 8-3 and Latvia 10-5.

On the World Curling Tour, some of the world’s best curling teams are currently at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary for the 207 Humpty’s Champions Cup. The women’s quarterfinals take place Saturday (Sportsnet One, 11:30 a.m. PT), followed by the men’s quarterfinals on Saturday (Sportsnet One, 3 p.m. PT), the semi-finals on Saturday (Sportsnet One, 6:30 p.m. PT), the women’s final on Sunday (Sportsnet, 10 a.m. PT) and the men’s final on Sunday (Sportsnet One, 1 p.m. PT).

The most intriguing quarterfinal matchup on the women’s side has Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg facing Rachel Homan of Ottawa. Here you have the reigning Olympic champion facing the reigning world champion. It should be noted however that Homan will be without Courtney as her second is in Lethbridge. On the men’s side, Alberta’s Kevin Koe is facing B.C.’s John Morris and Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs is facing Manitoba’s Mike McEwen. All four aforementioned curling teams should be considered amongst the world’s elite in the men’s game.

The other events I will be focused on this weekend are the NHL and NBA playoffs.

Saturday—NHL—Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round—New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators–Game 2—NBC—12 p.m. PT—Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators has simply been terrific in the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs. While playing with foot fractures, Karlsson has seven points in seven playoff games. After getting six assists in six games as the Senators eliminated the Boston Bruins, Karlsson scored the game winning goal in Ottawa’s 2-1 win over the Rangers in game one on Thursday.

Saturday—NHL—Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round—Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals–Game 2—NBC—5 p.m. PT—Game one of this series was a real treat. Sidney Crosby scored twice for the Penguins. Alexander Ovechkin scored for Washington, and you even had Nick Bonino score the game winning goal for the Penguins with 7:24 left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie. Every time I hear Bonino, I think of Harnaryan Singh of Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi. Singh delivered one of the greatest calls in hockey history during game one of the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals between the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins. For a trip down memory lane, please click here.

Sunday—NBA—Eastern Conference Semi-Finals—Washington Wizards @ Boston Celtics—Game 1—ABC—10 a.m. PT—The Wizards and Celtics are coming off series where they eliminated the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls respectively in six games. On Friday night, John Wall had a career playoff high 42 points as the Wizards trounced the Hawks 115-99. The Celtics meanwhile scored 34 points in the third quarter on Friday to blow out the Bulls 105-83. This will be the first time since 1984 that Washington will have played Boston in the NBA playoffs. That year Washington was known as the Bullets. The Celtics beat the Bullets three games to one in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics, who were led by future hall of famer Larry Bird, went on to beat the Los Angeles Lakers four games to three in the 1984 NBA Finals, for their 15th NBA title.

Sunday—NHL—Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round—St. Louis Blues @ Nashville Predators–Game 3—NBC—12 p.m. PT—The St. Louis Blues will look to continue with the momentum after defeating the Nashville Predators 3-2 to even the series at one game apiece. Game two on Friday was all about Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko. The Russian superstar had six shots on goal and scored twice, including the game winning goal with 3:51 left in the third period.

Sunday—NBA—Western Conference Quarterfinals—Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Clippers—Game 7—ABC—12:30 a.m. PT—In the only game seven of the first round of the NBA or the NHL playoffs this year, the Clippers are coming off an exciting 98-93 road win in Salt Lake City that made their owner Steve Ballmer beam with pride. There is no question that DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers is a great center, but he desperately needs to improve his free throw shooting. When you are only three for 11 from the charity stripe, it is simply bad.

Sunday—NHL—Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round—Anaheim Ducks @ Edmonton Oilers—Game 3—Sportsnet—4 p.m. PT—Finally an early start time for the Edmonton Oilers in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. After playing their first eight postseason games late at night, they will now be shown at a more respectable hour and eastern viewers might just realize that the Oilers are so much more than just Connor McDavid at the moment. On Friday night it was the Cam Talbot show. Talbot made 39 saves, and got two lucky bounces in the third period as the Ducks hit two posts in a 2-1 Oilers win. Even though Edmonton is up 2-0 in the series, they will need to play significantly better on Sunday to come up with the W.

 

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