NHL playoff picks: Stars, Lightning to take commanding series leads
Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

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We swept our Game 3 picks to move to 4-1 in the conference finals, and we'd like another sweep over the weekend.

Let's get after it.

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

Timely scoring is massive in the playoffs and the Stars have excelled in that area throughout the postseason. They've converted their chances at a high clip, with their top forward lines producing on a consistent basis. But it's the excellent play of Dallas' blue-liners that has really helped drive offense, simultaneously limiting the quality of offense the Golden Knights have managed to generate.

Vegas may have dominated the shot count in Game 3, but the Stars were able to match their opponents in terms of offensive quality. The Golden Knights held only slight edges in expected goals for and high-danger chances, once again failing to capitalize on those advantages. Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin was excellent, but Vegas' inability to finish has plagued the team throughout the playoffs. With Khudobin in a groove and the Stars finding remarkable consistency on offense, Dallas is too attractive to pass up at this price.

Pick: Stars (+140)

Tampa Bay Lightning (-145) @ New York Islanders (+125)

As is to be expected at this stage of the playoffs, nothing is coming easy for the Islanders. In their best game of the series Friday - which we predicted - they still needed a late goal to put the Lightning away and halve the series deficit. They also managed to stay out of the box, keeping Tampa's scorching hot power play at bay.

But this Lightning team has heaps of firepower, and the Islanders will find it extremely difficult to maintain that same intensity and consistency through another 60 minutes. The Lightning still held the edge in high-danger chances and expected goals at five-on-five in Game 3, with an off night from Andrei Vasilevskiy undoing another typically strong effort from the team in front of him. With a bounce-back performance from the Vezina Trophy finalist, the Lightning should move to within one win of the Stanley Cup Final.

Pick: Lightning (-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: Stars, Lightning to take commanding series leads
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