It’s Master’s Sunday … NHL playoff matchups set, NBA regular season enters final week

Hanson and Lefty in the final pairing, Oosthuizen two back, Bubba three back

It seemed preordained that Peter Hanson and Phil Milckelson would meet in today’s final pairing at the Masters and with 19 of the 21 winners coming out of the final two, it seems likely that one of them will take home the green jacket today. Hanson and Mickelson played together Thursday and Friday flip-flopping rounds of 68 and 74 to enter Saturday’s third round tied at two-under. Both shot monster rounds (Hanson 65, Mickelson 66) on Saturday to set up today’s showdown. British Open winner Louis Oosterhuizen is two back and will be paired with the red hot Bubba Watson who will start the day three back. With the weather expected to be perfect on Sunday, barring a complete meltdown by the leaders, the winner figures to come out of the final four. Matt Kuchar (-5) and Padraig Harrington, Hunter Mahan, Henrik Stenson, and Lee Westwood (all -4) all have outside shots.

Penguins vs Flyers and Blues vs Sharks head NHL playoff matchups

All 30 NHL teams were in action last night as the NHL finished up it’s regular season. Florida captured it’s first ever Southeast Division title with a 4-1 win over Carolina to claim the No.3 seed in the East. The Panthers will have home ice in their first-round matchup with the Devils. Phoenix won the Pacific with a 4-1 win over Minnesota to also claim a three-seed and will host the Blackhawks in the round-one matchup in the West. Steven Stamkos became just the second player since 1996 to score 60 goals when he buried a third period wrister in the Lightning’s 4-3 overtime win at Winnipeg.

The first round of the playoffs looks like this

In the East

#1 NY Rangers vs #8 Ottawa Senators
#2 Boston Bruins vs #7 Washington Capitals
#3 Florida Panthers vs #6 New Jersey Devils
#4 Pittsburg Penguins vs #5 Philadelphia Flyers

In the West

#1 Vancouver Canucks vs #8 LA Kings
#2 St Louis Blues vs #7 San Jose Sharks
#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs #6 Chicago Blackhawks
#4 Nashville Predators vs #5 Detroit Red Wings

Kobe misses Laker loss at Phoenix, NBA enter final week

The Lakers road woes continued Saturday with a 125-105 blowout loss in Phoenix. Los Angeles played without Kobe Bryant who sat the game out with tendonitis in his shin. Bryant had played in 138 straight games. Indiana followed up their win over OKC with an 86-72 no-show loss to the Celtics. Paul Pierce led Boston with 24 points. Dwight Howard had his 41st career 20/20 game in Orlando’s 88-82 win at Philly. Rudy Gay scored 25 points as the surging Memphis Grizzlies handled Dallas 94-89. The Clippers climbed to within a half game of the Lakers beating Sacramento for their eighth win nine games.
Atlanta mauled Charlotte, New Orleans whacked slumping Minnesota, Milwaukee crushed Portland, and Golden State waxed Denver to round out the Saturday night nine-game “Association” card.

The Kentucky Derby picture becomes clearer after wins by Gemologist and I’ll Have Another

Undefeated Gemologist was a gutty winner in the Wood Memorial, besting Alpha by a neck. Teeth of the Dog was third.

Out West, I’ll Have Another edged Creative Cause in a gutty performance. Longshot Blueskiesandrainbows almost bottomed out the field on the front end finishing a strong third.

The Kentucky Derby favorite Hansen will make his final tuneup in next week’s Bluegrass. The May 5th Run for the Roses appears to be wide open.

Tigers hammer Beckett and the Red Sox to highlight first Saturday of MLB

It’s going to be a long year for American League pitchers that face the heavy lumber of the 2012 Detroit Tigers. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder both homered twice as the Tigers roughed up Josh Beckett for five dingers as Motown spanked Josh Beckett and the Red Sox 10-0. Beckett recorded just 14 outs in giving up seven earned runs on seven hits. Doug Fister and relievers combined on the seven-hitter. Fister left after 3 2/3 innings with an abdominal strain.

Jamie Moyer may have made history by making the Colorado Rockies team at 49-years-old but someone forgot to tell the Houston Astros to respect their elders. Moyer, the ancient Mariner who made his first career start against Steve Carlton back in 1986, became the second oldest pitcher ever (Satchel Page 59) to make a MLB start but lasted just five innings in a 7-3 loss at Houston. Moyer wasn’t bad allowing just three earned runs on five hits but the Strohs jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back.

Free Plays

(NBA) Philadelphia +4 over Boston

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(MLB) Milwaukee (Wolf) pick over St Louis (Lynn) 2:20 PM EST

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(MLB) LA Dodgers (Harang)/San Diego (Richard) Under 7 4:05 PM EST

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