NHL playoff picks: Resilient Jets won't go down easy
Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

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Thursday is a massive day on the ice with a pair of crucial Game 3's, a couple of intriguing round-robin contests, and one team facing elimination.

So let's get straight to some winners.

Vancouver Canucks (-105) @ Minnesota Wild (-115)

I've said about all I've needed to say about the Wild and Canucks, picking Minnesota in my series preview, in Game 1, and Game 2. The Wild let me down for the first time on Tuesday, but despite the loss, their performance reaffirmed why I'm much higher on this team than the Canucks.

Through two games, Vancouver posted expected goals marks of 1.02 and 0.79 at five-on-five, while Minnesota managed tallies of 1.86 and 1.19. Trailing 1-0 in the series, the Canucks played with more desperation in Game 2, with Jacob Markstrom doing his part to prevent them from falling into a 2-0 hole. With the series level, and the Wild now getting the second change as the home team, they take care of business in a decisive Game 3.

Pick: Wild (-115)

Washington Capitals (-125) @ Philadelphia Flyers (+105)

These round-robin games have lacked intensity, to put it mildly. They've improved slowly, but without the threat of elimination, the excitement level has paled in comparison to the play-ins. This one should be a lot more fun, at least.

Brian Elliott, whose numbers were underwhelming this season, starts here for the Flyers as Carter Hart gets a breather. The Capitals were great offensively in their first game, posting an excellent expected goals mark of 5.15. Andrei Vasilevskiy's strong outing helped limit the damage against Tampa Bay, but Washington will have much better luck against Elliott.

The Capitals are a middle of the road team defensively, and with the Flyers consistently producing on offense, this has all the makings of an entertaining, high-scoring affair.

Pick: Over 6 (-115)

Calgary Flames (-165) @ Winnipeg Jets (+145)

We get a great price on the Jets here as well, following their 6-2 Game 3 loss. That score doesn't inspire much confidence, but the reality is not nearly as concerning. The Flames did the bulk of their damage on the power play, scoring three times with the man advantage.

The Jets held a slight edge in scoring chances and high-danger chances at five-on-five. They had 18 more shot attempts at even strength, had 11 shots on net from the slot - compared to six for Calgary - and almost a full minute more of possession time in the offensive zone. But they didn't quite get the puck luck on Connor Hellebuyck's rare off night.

Not having Mark Scheifele or Patrik Laine is hardly ideal - though at least one of them could be back for this game - but the Jets have faced adversity all season are certainly aren't lacking in mental toughness. Winnipeg tends to come out swinging when backed into a corner, and Game 4 will be no different with this team facing elimination.

Pick: Jets (+145)

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

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NHL playoff picks: Resilient Jets won't go down easy
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