Jeremy Freeborns Weekend Sports Preview May 6-7

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WEEKEND SPORTS PREVIEW—May 6-7, 2017

Game five of the Edmonton/Anaheim series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has left me heartbroken and speechless. As a diehard Oilers fan for 32 years, I have never seen an ending to an Oilers game like I did Friday night in Orange County. I am not here to rehash what transpired. All I feel like writing now is game six is Friday evening on Sportsnet, 4 p.m. PT, from Edmonton.

Here are the other events I will be watching:

Saturday—MLB—Boston Red Sox @ Minnesota Twins—TVA Sports—11 a.m. PT—One of the biggest stories in the American League at the moment is that the Minnesota Twins are in first place in the American League Central. At 15-12, they lead the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox by half a game. Third baseman Miguel Sano leads the American League with 28 runs batted in. The fact that the Twins lost 103 games in 2016 and are now in first place after 27 games in 2017 cannot go unnoticed.

Saturday—NHL—Stanley Cup Playoffs—Eastern Conference Second Round Game 5–New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators—CBC—12 p.m. PT—After narrowly winning the first two games of their series, the Senators got hammered in their two games at New York’s Madison Square Garden by a combined score of 8-2. The news for Ottawa is now worse. Their star player, defenseman Erik Karlsson, left game four with a lower body injury. The positive news is that he is expected to return for game five.

Saturday—MLB—Toronto Blue Jays @ Tampa Bay Rays—Sportsnet—1 p.m. PT—The Blue Jays got a big three run home run by Kendrys Morales in the eighth inning last night against the Rays to break a 4-4 tie en route to a 8-4 Toronto win. Still a lot needs to be done in a hurry for the Jays to salvage their season. Nobody expected them to be nine games back of the New York Yankees for first place in the American League East.

Saturday—Kentucky Derby—NBC—3:45 p.m. PT—The first race of 2017 that is part of horse racing’s triple crown goes Saturday with the Kentucky Derby. The early favourite is Classic Empire who is currently at 4-1. Other single digit odds contenders are Always Dreaming and McCraken at 5-1 and Irish War Cry at 6-1. If you are looking for a Canadian darkhorse (pardon the pun), then consider State of Honor, which is owned by Manfred and Penny Conrad of Wellesley Township, Ontario.

Saturday—NHL—Stanley Cup Playoffs—Eastern Conference Second Round Game 5–Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals—NBC—4 p.m. PT—No Sidney Crosby, no serious problem for the Penguins at the moment, who have had great offensive production from Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel. Malkin leads all skaters in the playoffs with 12 assists and 16 points, while Guentzel leads all skaters in the playoffs with eight goals. The Penguins only need one more win in their next three games to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals and continue the disappointing postseason run for the Capitals. They currently lead the series three games to one.

Saturday—NBA—Western Conference Semi-Finals Game 3—Golden State Warriors @ Utah Jazz—ABC—5:30 p.m. PT—In what has the makings of a big-time blow out, the Warriors were in complete control in the first two games of the series. The Warriors only won by 12 points in game one and 11 points in game two, but in each contest Golden State had very comfortable leads of 20 points. Kevin Durant led the Warriors attack with 25 points in game two, and is providing Golden State everything they hoped he would be in giving them a formidable offensive attack to complement Steph Curry.

Sunday—World Hockey Championship—Canada vs. Slovenia—TSN—3 a.m. PT—Team Canada will look to continue their success in recent years at the World Hockey Championship. After beating the Czech Republic 4-1 on Friday, the next test is Slovenia. For the Slovenians, the biggest story is who is not on the team. Los Angeles Kings defensive forward specialist Anze Kopitar, the heart and soul of Slovenian hockey, is not on the 2017 Slovenian World Hockey Championship roster.

Sunday—NHL—Stanley Cup Playoffs—Western Conference Second Round Game 6—St. Louis Blues @ Nashville Predators—NBC—12 p.m. PT—The Blues stayed alive on Friday with a key 2-1 win over the Predators. Dmitrij Jaskin, who had not played for the Blues since May 5, was huge for St. Louis in game five as he had their opening goal and eight shots on goal overall. Nashville leads the series 3-2 and can reach their first ever conference final in franchise history with a win on Sunday.

Sunday—NBA—Eastern Conference Semi-Finals Game 4—Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors—ABC—12:30 p.m. PT—One word describes the Raptors play in the first three games of their series against Cleveland. Inconsistent. Despite the fact that Toronto and Cleveland shared regular season records of 51 wins and 31 losses, this series has not been close and Cleveland has dominated. The fact that Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was out for game three did not help matters. Toronto simply needs to do better in shooting beyond the arc if they have any chance of winning game four.

Sunday—NBA—Eastern Conference Semi-Finals Game 4—Boston Celtics @ Washington Wizards—Sportsnet One—3:30 p.m. PT—After the Celtics beat the Wizards twice at home to open the series, the Wizards dominated the Celtics at home in game three 116-89. With all of the talk about the spectacular play of Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, one cannot ignore the fact that Wizards point guard John Wall has played very well too. Wall has 84 points in the first three games. Do not be surprised if the Wizards stay alive longer in the playoffs than their hockey allies, the Washington Capitals.

Sunday—NBA—Western Conference Semi-Finals Game 4—San Antonio Spurs @ Houston Rockets—Sportsnet One—6 p.m. PT—The San Antonio Spurs deserve a lot of credit for their impressive 103-92 win in Houston on Friday night. With the victory, the Spurs have a 2-1 series lead. In game two, Spurs fans received heartbreak when Tony Parker had a season-ending injury on his left quadriceps. Whether or not it was career-ending is still up for debate. The 34 year-old point guard is expected to be out eight months.

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