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Thursday, April 28, 2016

MLB : Yankees, Red Sox Resume Ancient Rivalry

It's one of the most ancient and enduring rivalries in sports. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have faced each other 2,137 times over the past 115 years, with the Yankees holding a 1,161-962 advantage heading into their latest series at Fenway Park. Game 1 of this three-game set takes place Friday night at 7:10 PM ET on the MLB Network.

This will be the first meeting of the 2016 regular season between the Yankees (8-12, –5.90 betting units) and the Red Sox (12-9, +1.84 units). Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to take the mound for New York, while Boston is expected to respond with Henry Owens, one of the top prospects in the system.

Owens has been pressed into service because of injuries to the Red Sox rotation; in his 2016 debut, the 6-foot-6 southpaw gave up three runs over 3.1 innings in a 7-5 win over the Houston Astros (–105 at home). Tanaka (3.14 FIP) might never be the same pitcher he was before he tore his elbow during his 2014 “rookie” campaign, but he's played at a high level this year, leading the Yankees to three wins in four starts for a profit of 2.05 units.

MLB : Yankees, Red Sox Resume Ancient Rivalry

MLB : Yankees-Red Sox at Fenway Park
One of the most enduring rivalries in sports resumes Friday night when the Boston Red Sox (12-9, +1.84 betting units) welcome the New York Yankees (8-12, –5.90 units) to Fenway Park for Game 1 of a three-game series. First pitch is at 7:10 PM ET on the MLB Network.

The Yankees are expected to go with ace Masahiro Tanaka (3.15 FIP), while the Red Sox will give prospect Henry Owens his second big-league start of 2016. On Sunday, Owens gave up three runs to the Houston Astros in just 3.1 innings, but Boston (–105 away) escaped with a 7-5 victory.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

NBA : Resilient Raptors Take 3-2 Lead Into Indiana

They were down by double-digits through most of Game 5, but the Toronto Raptors dominated the fourth quarter to win 102-99 Tuesday night over the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers still managed to cash in as 7-point road dogs, but they'll be behind the 8-ball Friday night when they host Toronto in Game 6, game time to be determined.

This Eastern Conference quarterfinal has seen each team make multiple adjustments to gain an advantage over the other. On Tuesday, the Raptors benched Luis Scola and started Patrick Patterson at power forward; it wasn't effective, as Patterson posted a minus-20 after struggling at both ends. However, Indiana committed 14 turnovers to Toronto's seven, handing the game and the series back to the Raptors.

Game 5 also saw the two teams go over the closing total of 194 points, up from 192 at the open. The under was 4-0 in this series and 24-10 in the playoffs going into Tuesday's action. Paul George helped change that with 39 points for Indiana, while Toronto's DeMar Derozan finally broke out of his shooting slump, scoring 34 points on 10-of-22 from the floor and 12-of-13 from the free-throw line.

NBA : Resilient Raptors Take 3-2 Lead Into Indiana

NBA : Pacers up Against It in Game 6
The Indiana Pacers had Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal well in hand, but they gave it back to the Toronto Raptors, losing 102-99 as 7-point road dogs to fall behind 3-2 in this series. Game 6 is Friday night (tip-off time TBD) at the Fieldhouse.

Game 5 was the first of the series to go over the posted total, which closed at 194 points after first hitting the NBA odds board at 192. This was despite the Raptors shooting 6-of-26 (23.1%) from the perimeter. DeMar DeRozan made up for it with a team-high 34 points for Toronto.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

NHL : Game 7 for Predators, Ducks

There's one more game left in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Nashville Predators will visit the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night (10 PM ET, NBCSN) for Game 7 of their Western Conference quarterfinal; Nashville extended the series Monday with a 3-1 victory, as Pekka Rinne made 26 of 27 saves for the Preds.

The Ducks (46-25-11 during the regular season) were expected to make short work of Nashville (41-27-14) after winning their fourth straight Pacific Division title, all under head coach Bruce Boudreau. Anaheim was available at +800 on the Stanley Cup futures market going into the playoffs, compared to +2500 for the Predators. But Nashville has knotted this series despite getting outscored 17-12.

The Preds might have already eliminated Anaheim had forward Craig Smith (21 goals, 37 points) not gotten injured early in Game 3, after Nashville won the first two games at the Honda Center. Smith returned Monday and played right wing on the second line with Calle Jarnkrok (16 goals, 30 points) on the left and Mike Ribeiro (seven goals, 50 points) in the middle; Smith also took his usual turn on the power play, logging 14:23 of total ice time.

NHL : Game 7 for Predators, Ducks

NHL : Ducks, Predators Down to the Wire
The Nashville Predators have forced a Game 7 in their Western Conference quarterfinal with the Anaheim Ducks. They'll play Wednesday night at the Honda Center after Nashville won 3-1 on Monday. Game time is 10 PM ET on NBCSN.

Craig Smith (21 goals, 37 points) made his return to Nashville's second line Monday night, and while he was held scoreless, the Predators have won all three full games Smith has played in this series. The talented right winger was injured early in Game 3, after the Predators had taken the first two games in Anaheim.

Soccer : Atletico Madrid Hosts Bayern Munich in Champions League Semifinal

After eliminating their Spanish rivals from Barcelona, Atletico Madrid has another big task in the Champions League. On Wednesday, they host Bayern Munich in the first leg of the semifinals.

Atletico has been on a roll since they edged Barcelona 3-2 over two legs in the quarterfinals. Overall, they've won their last five games, including a 2-0 win over Barcelona in Game 2 of the quarter-finals at home. Antoine Griezmann scored twice in that game, sending Atletico to the semifinals for the second time in three years.

Bayern held on for a tough 3-2 aggregate win over Benfica, including a nail-biting 2-2 away draw in the second leg. Arturo Vidal scored in both legs and Thomas Muller added one in the second leg; Bayern has won three in a row since that game. They return to the semifinals – where they lost to Barcelona last season.

This is the third time that these two teams have met. They faced each other in two legs of the 1974 European Cup Final. The first leg resulted in a 1-1 draw, and Bayern scooped up a 4-0 win in the second leg.

Soccer : Atletico Madrid Hosts Bayern Munich in Champions League Semifinal

Soccer : Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich Meet in Spain
After getting eliminated by Barcelona in the semifinals of the Champions League last season, Bayern Munich will face Atletico Madrid – the team that eliminated Barcelona this season. The match is the first leg of the semifinals and is set for Wednesday.

Both teams won 3-2 in the quarterfinals, with Atletico taking out Barca, and Bayern eliminating Benfica. Both teams have met just once before for a two-leg European Cup Final in 1974; the first leg resulted in a draw, and the second leg saw Bayern defeat Atletico 4-0.
Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller have scored eight goals each in the Champions League for Bayern; meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann has netted seven for Atletico.

Friday, April 22, 2016

MLB : King Felix Day at Angel Stadium

It's already been a bit of a struggle for both the Los Angeles Angels (6-9, –3.54 betting units) and the Seattle Mariners (6-8, –3.84 units). One of these teams will inch closer to .500 when they meet Friday night in Anaheim. First pitch is at 10:05 PM ET on Fox Sports West.

This game features a very interesting pitching duel between Seattle's veteran ace, Felix Hernandez (3.16 FIP after three starts), and Angels prospect Nicholas Tropeano (2.49 FIP after two starts). Hernandez appears to be on the decline at age 30 after 10 straight seasons of 30 starts or more. Tropeano, a 25-year-old northpaw from New York, has quickly worked his way up to No. 2 in the injury-plagued LA rotation, striking out batters with a decent mix of junk pitches and nondescript fastballs.

Friday's game is also a battle between two front offices with two different mindsets. Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto held the same post with the Halos until he resigned last July when tensions mounted between himself and manager Mike Scioscia, who didn't appreciate DiPoto's analytics-based approach. The Angels now rank No. 28 in the majors in team hitting at .590 OPS, five spots below Seattle (.651 OPS).

MLB : King Felix Day at Angel Stadium

MLB : Mariners-Angels in AL West Matchup
It'll be youth versus experience this Friday (10:05 PM ET, FSW) when Nicholas Tropeano and the Los Angeles Angels host Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners in the first game of a three-game set. The Angels are 1-1 behind Tropeano this year, while Seattle has lost two of three with King Felix on the mound.

Hernandez is in the early stages of what could turn into a steep decline after logging 2280.1 innings with the Mariners (6-8, –3.84 units). Tropeano, on the other hand, is a 25-year-old fringe prospect for the Angels (6-9, –3.54 units) with an intriguing frisbee change-up.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

NBA : Warriors-Rockets Game 3 on TNT

Last year, the Houston Rockets lost the first two games of their playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. After the Rockets got home, their city was hit by flooding. The script has changed slightly for Thursday's Game 3 (9:30 PM ET, TNT) at the Toyota Center; the floods have already arrived, leaving large sections of town underwater.

This also isn't the same Houston team that earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference last year. The Rockets (41-41 SU, 37-45 ATS) barely squeaked into the playoffs, plagued by dissension, injuries and a depleted bench after the failed trade for point guard Ty Lawson. Houston didn't have much of a prayer in either of the first two games at Oracle Arena – but at least the Rox earned a push Monday night as 9-point road dogs.

That's because Stephen Curry missed Game 2 for the Warriors (73-9 SU, 45-35-2 ATS) with discomfort in his ankle and foot. Curry hopes to play in Game 3, but he was also expecting to suit up on Monday after hurting himself in the opener. Shaun Livingston started in Curry's place and scored 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

NBA : Warriors-Rockets Game 3 on TNT

NBA : Curry Questionable for Warriors in Game 3
The Houston Rockets haven't solved the Golden State Warriors yet, but they might catch a break when they get home for Game 3 of their first-round matchup this Thursday (9:30 PM ET, TNT). Stephen Curry could miss his second straight game for Golden State with foot and ankle issues.

The Warriors blew away the Rockets by 26 points in Game 1, but with back-up point guard Shaun Livingston starting in relief of Curry Monday night, they had to settle for a push, winning 115-106 as 9-point home favorites. That was down from –13.5 in Saturday's opener.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Soccer : Manchester United Hosts Crystal Palace

Manchester United is fifth in the Premier League rankings and four points behind Manchester City, who visit Newcastle on Tuesday. If City stumbles, United will try to surge ahead when they welcome Crystal Palace to town on Wednesday.

United ensured Aston Villa's relegation with a 1-0 win at home, but it looked shaky near the end of the match as Villa increased pressure. Marcus Rashford scored his fourth goal in seven EPL games for United, who are also in the semifinals of the FA Cup after eliminating West Ham last week.
Crystal Palace is also in the FA Cup semifinals after their win over Reading. They took a point in a 1-1 draw at Arsenal to remain No. 16. Yannick Bolasie netted his fifth of the season for Palace, who are nine points above the drop zone and should be good to stay in the Premier League for one more season.

Palace has beaten United twice in their last 20 matches, once in May 1991 in the old English First Division, and then in November 2011 in the Carling Cup in Manchester. The two drew 0-0 at Palace on Halloween 2015.

Soccer : Manchester United, Crystal Palace

Soccer : Manchester United, Crystal Palace Square Off on Wednesday
Manchester United still hopes to finish in the top four of the Premier League. However, they need their rivals from Manchester City to drop points at Newcastle on Tuesday. If this happens, Manchester United will have to take care of business against visiting Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

This fixture has not been kind to Palace. Manchester United had won four straight against Palace before a 0-0 road draw on Halloween, a match in which Palace was arguably the better team. Both teams are also in the semifinals of the FA Cup.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

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NHL : Panthers Need a Win in Brooklyn

The Atlantic Division-champion Florida Panthers (47-26-9) will be on the brink of elimination if they don't beat the New York Islanders (45-27-10) Wednesday night. The Islanders have taken a 2-1 lead over Florida in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal, winning Game 1 as +140 road dogs and Game 3 as –115 home favourites. Game 4 at Barclays Center starts at 7 PM ET.

Even though New York has the advantage, this has been a very close matchup, with each team scoring 10 goals after three games. That's still an impressive performance by the Islanders; they were the underdogs going into the first round, posting a decent plus-16 goal differential during the regular season compared to Florida's plus-36. The Panthers won their season series 2-1, outscoring New York 10-6.

The Islanders have also done very well considering they don't have forwards Anders Lee (15 goals, 36 points) and Mikhail Grabovski (nine goals, 25 points) available for the first round. Lee suffered a broken left leg earlier this month, while Grabovski is out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms. Meanwhile, Panthers centre Vincent Trocheck (25 goals, 53 points) could return from his broken foot in either Game 4 or Game 5.

NHL : Panthers Need a Win in Brooklyn

NHL : Panthers-Isles in Critical Game 4
The New York Islanders have jumped out to a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the top team in the Atlantic, the Florida Panthers. Game 4 takes place Wednesday night (7 PM ET, USA) at Barclays Center.

The Panthers may have Vincent Trocheck (25 goals, 53 points) ready for Game 4 after missing three weeks with a broken foot. He was originally projected to return for Game 5 on Friday. Trocheck was the breakthrough centre on Florida's impressive second line between left wing Jussi Jokinen (18 goals, 60 points) and right wing Reilly Smith (25 goals, 50 points).

Thursday, April 14, 2016

MLB : Story Leads Rockies into Wrigley

The Chicago Cubs (7-1, +5.77 units) are already off to a great start this season. But their World Series chase has taken a back seat, for now, to the biggest story in baseball: Trevor Story. The rookie shortstop already has seven home runs in his first eight games for the Colorado Rockies (4-4, +0.20 units), who visit Wrigley Field this Friday at 2:20 PM ET on the MLB Network.

Story was a first-round pick for the Rockies in 2011, and toiled away quietly in the minors before cracking their 2016 Opening Day roster with a strong performance in spring training. He's a power hitter with speed, both of which were on display Wednesday night when Story hit a pair of triples in a 10-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants (+150 away).

The Cubs may be winning, but their story took a turn for the worse last week when outfielder Kyle Schwarber (.842 OPS last year) tore up his left knee in a nasty outfield collision with teammate Dexter Fowler. Schwarber is expected to miss the rest of the 2016 season; Jorge Soler (.723 OPS last year) has taken over the starting spot in left field.

MLB : Story Leads Rockies into Wrigley

MLB : Story Time at Wrigley Field
Trevor Story's MLB career is off to a pretty good start: seven home runs in eight games. He'll lead the Colorado Rockies (4-4, +0.20 units) into Wrigley Field Friday afternoon to face the Chicago Cubs (7-1, +5.77 units), starting at 2:20 PM ET on the MLB Network.

Story's hot start has taken some of the spotlight away from the Cubs, who remain the top favorites on the World Series futures market at +500. But they'll have to do it without left fielder Kyle Schwarber (.842 OPS last year), who's expected to miss the rest of the season with torn knee ligaments.

NBA : Pistons Provide Cleveland's First Playoff Hurdle

There's still one game left to go in the 2015-2016 regular season, but some of this year's playoff matchups have already been determined – including the 1-8 matchup in the Eastern Conference. The Cleveland Cavaliers (57-24 SU, 37-41-3 ATS) will host the Detroit Pistons (43-38 SU, 41-38-2 ATS) this weekend in Game 1 of their first-round series, date and time to be determined.

This could end up being a difficult matchup for the Cavaliers. They've dropped two of three games to Detroit SU and ATS, and they'll face the Pistons once more on Wednesday before meeting them in the playoffs. The last time they played at Quicken Loans Arena, it was Detroit winning 96-88 as a 9.5-point dog; LeBron James scored just 12 points for the Cavs, while Reggie Jackson led all Pistons with 23 points.

There is some concern over Jackson's health, though. He was scratched from Tuesday's 99-93 loss to the Miami Heat (–1.5 away) because of an abdominal strain. However, Jackson says he will be ready for the playoffs. The Pistons certainly hope so; Jackson is by far Detroit's best offensive player, putting up 22.1 points and 7.3 assists per 36 minutes.

NBA : Pistons Provide Cleveland's First Playoff Hurdle

NBA : LeBron, Cavs Host Pistons in Opening Round
After meeting Wednesday in the final game of the regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons will face each other again this weekend in the first game of the playoffs. The Cavs (57-24 SU, 37-41-3 ATS) will be the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, while Detroit (43-38 SU, 41-38-2 ATS) has locked down the No. 8 seed.

The Pistons are 2-1 SU and ATS against Cleveland this year, including a 96-88 victory on February 22 as 9.5-point road dogs. LeBron James (27.5 PER) was held to 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting in that matchup.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Soccer: Atletico Madrid Hosts Barcelona in Champs League Quarterfinals

Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 at home in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinals. Can Atletico turn it around in the second leg at home on Wednesday?

Luis Suarez scored twice in Barcelona's victory in the first leg – a match that featured 10 yellow cards. Two of the 10 cards went to Fernando Torres, who scored Atletico's opening goal, then was sent off in the 36th minute. Suarez got away with a couple of fouls that might have warranted cards as well, but he cashed in on two opportunities in the 63rd and the 74th minutes. The pair of yellows for Torres means that the striker will miss the all-important second leg because of suspension.

This will be the fourth meeting of the season between these bitter Spanish rivals, who are also first (Barcelona) and second (Atletico) in La Liga. All three matches have been won 2-1 by Barcelona, who now has seven wins and a tie in their last eight meetings with their rivals. Atletico last beat Barcelona 1-0 in the Champions League in April 2014.

Soccer : Atletico Madrid Hosts Barcelona in Champs League Quarterfinals

Soccer : Atletico Madrid Attempt to End Barcelona's Dominance on Wednesday
Atletico Madrid have failed to beat Barcelona in their last eight meetings, including three this season. They'll try to snap that streak at home on Wednesday in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal.

Barcelona won 2-1 in the first leg, which had 10 yellow cards. Fernando Torres was sent off for Atletico, but not before he scored a big away goal. Luis Suarez scored a pair for Barcelona, who is coming off an away loss to Real Sociedad in La Liga. That loss opened the door for Atletico to catch up in league play, but they'd love to end Barcelona's Champions League dreams this week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

NHL : Hawks Begin Cup Defense Versus Blues

This could be the best series in the entire Stanley Cup playoffs. The defending champion Chicago Blackhawks (47-26-9) have drawn the St. Louis Blues (49-24-9) in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Game 1 is Wednesday night at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, starting at 9:30 PM ET on NBCSN.

Although the Blues finished the 2015-2016 regular season with the better record, Chicago skates into the playoffs with shorter odds on the Stanley Cup futures market. The Hawks are the second-favorites at +800 (along with LA, Anaheim, Dallas and Pittsburgh), a step ahead of St. Louis at +1000. These two teams faced each other five times during the regular season; the Blues won three games, with the total split evenly at 2-2-1.

Chicago will be without defenseman Duncan Keith (nine goals, 43 points) for Wednesday's opener. The two-time Norris Trophy winner has one game left to go in his six-game suspension for hitting Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle in the face with his stick. The Hawks also have a number of players listed as questionable for Game 1, including top-line centre Artem Anisimov (20 goals, 42 points) and second-line right wing Marian Hossa (13 goals, 33 points). The Blues will have all their key players available Wednesday.

NHL : Hawks Begin Cup Defense Versus Blues

NHL : Blues Host Blackhawks in Playoff Opener
The St. Louis Blues (49-24-9) had a better regular season than the Chicago Blackhawks (47-26-9), and they'll have home-ice advantage Wednesday night when these two teams meet in Game 1 of their Western quarterfinal. NBCSN has the coverage beginning at 9:30 PM ET.

Duncan Keith (nine goals, 43 points) will not be on the blue line for Chicago. Keith is serving the last game of a six-game suspension. The Hawks could also be without centre Artem Anisimov (20 goals, 42 points) and right wing Marian Hossa (13 goals, 33 points), both listed as questionable for Wednesday's opener.

Friday, April 8, 2016

MLB : Giants Host Dodgers on FS1

One of the greatest rivalries in sports continues this Saturday (4:05 PM ET, FS1) when the San Francisco Giants host the Los Angeles Dodgers. It'll be a classic pitcher's duel between San Francisco lefty Madison Bumgarner, the three-time World Series champion, and Los Angeles southpaw Clayton Kershaw, the three-time National League Cy Young Award winner.

Both pitchers got the win to start the 2016 season for their respective clubs. Kershaw allowed just one hit over seven innings as the Dodgers pummeled the San Diego Padres (+185 at home) 15-0. Bumgarner was a bit shakier, giving up all three runs in just five innings of work as the Giants thrashed the Milwaukee Brewers (+166 at home) 12-3.

These same two pitchers faced each other four times during the 2015 regular season, with the teams splitting the series 2-2. Three of the games went under despite the total dipping as low as 5.5 runs. The Dodgers have a long list of injured players heading into the weekend, including catcher Yasmani Grandal (.756 OPS last year), second baseman Howie Kendrick (.746 OPS), and worst of all, outfielder Andre Ethier (.852 OPS), who isn't expected to play until June because of a broken tibia.

MLB : Giants Host Dodgers

MLB : Dodgers-Giants in Pitcher's Duel
Don't expect too much scoring this Saturday when  Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants host Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers. First pitch is at 4:05 PM ET on Fox Sports 1.

These two pitchers met four times last year; three of the games went under, even with the totals set at six runs or lower. The teams split the series at two wins apiece. This Saturday, the Dodgers will be missing outfielder Andre Ethier (.852 OPS last year), catcher Yasmani Grandal (.756 OPS) and second baseman Howie Kendrick (.746 OPS) to injury.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

NBA : Spurs-Warriors in Western Finals Warm-Up

The top two teams in the NBA will lock horns Thursday night (10:30 PM ET, TNT) when the San Antonio Spurs visit the Golden State Warriors. There isn't a lot of motivation for the Spurs (65-12 SU, 43-34 ATS) in this matchup, but the Warriors (69-9 SU, 42-34-2 ATS) are still trying to break the regular-season record of 72 wins set by the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls.

These two teams have split a pair of games straight up and against the spread this year, with the home team winning both times. However, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich didn't start Tim Duncan (17.2 PER) in either contest. There's every chance Popovich will sit Duncan again for the rubber match. San Antonio is cruising toward the playoffs in a lower gear at 5-1 SU and 1-5 ATS over the past six games.

The Warriors, meanwhile, have been struggling to meet market expectations during their Quest for 73. They're 7-3 SU and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games, starting with their 79-87 loss in San Antonio as 4.5-point road dogs. Turnovers have been a problem lately; the Dubs coughed up the ball 23 times in Tuesday's 117-124 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves (+15 away).

NBA : Spurs-Warriors in Western Finals Warm-Up

NBA Odds: Spurs, Warriors Collide in Oakland
The Golden State Warriors (69-9 SU, 42-34-2 ATS) and the San Antonio Spurs (65-12 SU, 43-34 ATS) are expected to meet in the Western Conference Finals. First, they'll have to face each other at Oracle Arena Thursday night, tipping off at 10:30 PM ET on TNT.

The Spurs don't have much to play for on Thursday. The Warriors, on the other hand, are trying to win 73 games, but that quest hit a roadblock Tuesday night when they lost 117-124 in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves (+15 away). Golden State committed 23 turnovers in that contest.

Soccer : Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City Kick Off Champions League Quarterfinals

The Champions League rolls into the quarterfinals this week and one of the top matchups begins in France. Paris Saint-Germain plays host to Manchester City in the first leg of a mouthwatering European tie.

Manchester City defeated Dynamo Kiev 3-1 over two legs in the knockout stage, including a 0-0 draw at home in the second leg. Manchester City has been inconsistent over the last few games, winning two, losing two and drawing two in their last six, and they're still battling to stay in the top four in the English Premier League. After being eliminated in the knockout stage for two straight seasons, Manchester City is finally through to the quarterfinals.

PSG has already clinched Ligue 1, so they can prioritize the Champions League. They eliminated Chelsea 4-2 in the last round and they have four wins, a draw and a loss in their last six games. This is a massive chance for the French champions, who have been knocked out at this stage in each of the last three seasons.

These two have met just once, drawing 0-0 in Manchester in the group stage of the 2008-2009 UEFA Cup (now the Europa League).

Soccer : Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City Kick Off Champions League Quarterfinals

Soccer : PSG Hosts Manchester City in Champions League Quarterfinals
The Champions League is down to its final eight teams and an intriguing matchup in France wraps up the week's action on Wednesday. Paris Saint-Germain hosts Manchester City in the first of two legs.

This is the first meeting for these two clubs since a 0-0 draw in Manchester in the 2008-2009 UEFA Cup. Both got through the last stage with relative ease; PSG beat Chelsea 4-2 over two legs, and Manchester City held off Dynamo Kiev by a score of 3-1. PSG is trying to get to the semifinals for the first time, whereas Manchester City has never gotten this far in the Champions League.

NHL : Bruins, Red Wings on the Bubble

Will an untimely, late-season collapse prevent the Boston Bruins from making the playoffs? Their fate could be decided Thursday night (7 PM ET, NBCSN) when they host the Detroit Red Wings in a pivotal Atlantic Division clash. The Red Wings have won six of their last nine games to seize third place from Boston, who went 2-7 during the same span. This will be Game No. 81 of the regular season for both clubs.

The Bruins (41-30-8) have performed better overall than the Wings (40-28-11) this year, posting a plus-13 goal differential to Detroit's minus-11. However, Boston netminder Tuukka Rask (.915 save percentage) has been inconsistent this year, and the defense in front of him has been thinned out by lower-body injuries to Kevan Miller and Dennis Seidenberg. Both are listed as day-to-day.

Detroit (40-28-11) is making this late playoff push with Jimmy Howard (.906 SV%) taking over the No. 1 goalie spot and Petr Mrazek (.920 SV%) settling for back-up duties. This will be the second of back-to-back contests for the Wings; at press time, Howard is projected to start both games, but that could certainly change as we get closer to the opening face-off.

NHL : Bruins, Red Wings

NHL : Bruins Host Wings with Playoffs on the Line
The Boston Bruins (41-30-8) picked a bad time to start slumping. After losing seven of their last nine games, their playoff fate could hang in the balance Thursday night when they welcome the Detroit Red Wings (40-28-11) to the Garden. Game time is 7 PM ET on NBCSN.

The Red Wings have won six of their last nine to take the third spot in the Atlantic Division away from the Bruins, who are also one point out of a Wild Card berth in the Eastern Conference. Each team will have one game left to play in the regular season following Thursday's clash.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A lot of Soccer in Europe

There’s some fantastic Soccer taking place this week with the quarter finals of the Champions League and Europa League, plus a full round of fixtures from the Premier League to look forward to.
Man City, in the last eight of the Champions League for the first time in their history, head to Paris to meet Chelsea’s conquerors PSG in the first leg of their tie. Can Manuel Pellegrini’s men return to Manchester with an advantage or a valuable away goal? On Thursday, Liverpool head to Germany to take on Jurgen Klopp’s former employers Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park.

Attention turns to domestic matters on Saturday as West Ham host London rivals Arsenal at Upton Park, before Swansea welcome Chelsea to South Wales and Man City are back in action as they entertain West Brom. Sunday sees Sunderland face a tough task in their fight against relegation as Leicester come to town, Stoke head to Anfield to face Liverpool, and Spurs take on Man Utd in the pick of the weekend’s games as the home side look to keep their title challenge alive.

There’s some fantastic Soccer taking place this week with a host of exciting international friendlies to look forward to as the countdown to Euro 2016 continues.

England begin their preparations in earnest with a tough test against a familiar foe. Roy Hodgson’s men take on reigning world champions Germany at Olympiastadion Berlin, where the Three Lions ran out 2-1 winners on their last visit back in 2008. After losing two of their last three internationals, Joachim Löw’s side will be keen for a return to form.

Elsewhere, Wales and Northern Ireland, who are gearing up for a first major tournament since 1958 and 1986 respectively, meet at the Cardiff City Stadium. Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland play Switzerland in Dublin and Scotland, the only home nation not to qualify, travel to Prague to face the Czech Republic.