NHL playoff picks: Expect tense games with 1st seed up for grabs
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We've been spoiled since the NHL's return, so a two-game slate on Saturday feels eerily quiet.

However, you only need one game to have action, so in that regard, we're living in luxury.

Philadelphia Flyers (+120) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (-140)

The round-robin games have been low in intensity at times, but that won't be the case when the Flyers and Lightning meet on Saturday in their final tune-up before the playoffs. Both of these teams are dialed in, making for a tightly contested game with first place and a date with the Montreal Canadiens up for grabs.

The Flyers have allowed just 2.05 expected goals against in two games, limiting their opponents to just eight high-danger scoring chances. The Lightning haven't been as stout defensively, with 3.17 expected goals against in their two games, while giving up 16 high-danger chances. But they haven't missed a beat offensively, and Andrei Vasilevskiy has been excellent.

Philadelphia has benefited from some stout goaltending as well. Carter Hart was superb against the Boston Bruins, while Brian Elliott was sharp against the Washington Capitals. Hart will be back in for this one, with Vasilevskiy remaining in net for Tampa. With both goaltenders on top of their game and plenty at stake, don't expect fireworks in Saturday's lone game in Toronto.

Pick: Under 5.5 (+105)

Vegas Golden Knights (+100) @ Colorado Avalanche (-120)

The first seed in the West is also up for grabs in Edmonton on Saturday. The Knights are having a high-scoring 2-0 start to round-robin play, while the Avalanche have been nearly flawless in their wins.

I'm high on both of these teams, and truthfully there is very little to separate them on the ice. The Knights have a slight edge in goal, while the Avalanche are incrementally better on the blue line, and both are capable of scoring in bunches.

There's a strong possibility these teams will meet in the Western Conference final. If this ends up being the case, possessing top seed - meaning "home-ice" advantage and final line choices before faceoffs - would be huge. There's plenty at stake, so in this final matchup, expect Colorado to keep playing strong defensively and Vegas to try and tighten things up.

Pick: Under 5.5 (+100)

(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.

NHL playoff picks: Expect tense games with 1st seed up for grabs
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