NHL playoff picks: Best bets for Game 2 of the conference finals
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Round 3 started on a winning note, with the Stars (+150) coming through for us in Game 1.

Let's keep the momentum going into Game 2 of the conference finals.

Dallas Stars (+140) @ Vegas Golden Knights (-160)

Not to be that guy, but what I wrote about this contest in my Game 1 preview rang very true Sunday night. I said the Golden Knights weren't scoring enough for all the offense they've been creating - most expected goals for in the playoffs - and that was a real concern against the Stars, who excel at suppressing offense. Vegas is the only Western Conference team with more expected goals than actual ones in the postseason, and if the Knights are going to win this series, they have to convert chances to goals at a much higher clip.

Well, my prediction was essentially Game 1's script - the Knights only mustered up five high-danger scoring chances and 1.4 expected goals for. Both are new lows for them in these playoffs, with their previous lows being 10 and 2.29. This postseason, the Knights have averaged 13.4 high-danger chances and 3.36 expected goals for per 60 minutes, painting a clear picture of just how low the first game's totals are.

Having come through back-to-back series against the defensively challenged Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks, the first game against a Dallas team capable of playing a suffocating defensive game was a reality check for Vegas. I'd expect a strong response from the Knights in Game 2, but this price is still too high for me to pass up.

Pick: Stars (+140)

New York Islanders (+160) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (-180)

The Lightning remain my Stanley Cup favorite, but what happened in Game 1 against the Islanders was an anomaly. New York was coming off an emotional Game 7 win, while Tampa Bay had the chance to rest and focus.

And it didn't help that the Islanders couldn't buy a save - Thomas Greiss let in three goals on nine shots before Semyon Varlamov allowed five on 25 in relief. That's basically how the Lightning scored eight goals, despite a mark of just 2.87 expected goals for. Oh, and the insane number of shots hitting the net didn't hurt, either.

The series opener wasn't nearly as lopsided as the score suggests, so we can expect to see a much tighter contest in Game 2. Tampa managed just 1.46 expected goals for at five-on-five, so it's not like the Isles were defensively bad Monday, but Barry Trotz will demand a stifling effort in response to the 8-2 loss. With some better goaltending - because it can't possibly get any worse - the second matchup should better represent this series going forward.

Pick: Under 5.5 (-125)

(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: Best bets for Game 2 of the conference finals
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