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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

By Sarah Spain

NBA: More than 20,000 screaming fans filled the United Center in Chicago last night -- and there wasn't even a game. Oprah Winfrey filmed her final show at the home of the Bulls and the Blackhawks, with stars of screen and sport making surprise appearances. With Oprah's final show in the can and her favorite people and things cleared out of the United Center, the Bulls hope to treat tonight's crowd to an equally exciting show when they host the Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

If Miami wants to even things up at one game apiece, they'll need to find a way to limit the Bulls' offensive boards. Chicago outscored Miami 31-8 on second-chance points Sunday. The Bulls' bench was huge in Game 1, providing a second wave of offense while the Heat's Big Three slowed with fatigue. Another solid showing from the Bulls' defense and big night from their self-proclaimed "Bench Mob" could have Chicago emerging victorious once again (8:30 p.m., TNT).

NHL: On Sunday night the Canucks used a third-period rally to steal Game 1 of the Western Conference finals from the Sharks. San Jose has now blown three third-period leads in four games. It'll try to play all 60 minutes tonight and even things up with a win on enemy ice. Vancouver benefited from five days rest before Game 1, while the Sharks had just two days of rest after Detroit pushed their series to seven games. San Jose took Monday off, hoping for fresh legs tonight in Game 2 (9 p.m., Versus).

MLB: The Blue Jays can win seven straight for the first time in nearly three years with a victory over the visiting Rays tonight. Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson hopes to spoil Toronto's night and extend his own streak with a fourth-straight winning start (7:07 p.m.). ... The Reds look to win an eighth straight at home when they host the Pirates tonight at Great American Ballpark. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is stuck in a six-game skid (7:10 p.m.). ... The Indians are off to their best start since 2001, at 26-13. Tonight they'll try to slow down a White Sox squad that's finally finding its way. The South Siders lost 22-of-31 games after starting off the season 2-0, but they've won seven of their last 11 to creep ever closer to .500. Jake Peavy will get the start for the Sox, just his second start this year, as he comes back from summer shoulder surgery (8:10 p.m.). ... On the night they honored the memory of legendary Twin Harmon Killebrew, Minnesota finally found a way out of its nine-game skid. It'll try to build on yesterday's victory over the A's with another tonight. Carl Pavano is on the hill for the Twins, looking for his 100th career victory.