Early on in the season, there have been some dominant performances by certain lines in the NHL. While more often than not in today’s game trios are not kept together for long stretches and coaches often tinker with lineups to get a spark in certain games, for the most part these lines are kept together through thick and thin, Here are the top 5 lines of the year so far:
There have been different lines that could have been the answer at various points in the season. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski would have been the answer early on, but they have combined for 7 points in the team’s last 9 games. Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Cory Conacher are in the same boat, but have been hit and miss.
Right now, as the season nears its midway point, there are a few combinations that have played together for the most part and have excelled (in no particular order):
- New York Islanders – John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Brad Boyes – The Islanders would be absolutely nowhere without their top trio. They have combined for 27 of the team’s 62 goals (42%) as they have kept the Islanders at least in the playoff race. They have combined for 63 points so far this season in 63 total games.
- Philadelphia Flyers – Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Scott Hartnell – Despite the fact Hartnell has played in only 6 games, and netted just 4 points, he is the engine that drives the new Flyers top line. Voracek is in the middle of a breakout season and Giroux is proving last year was no fluke. The trio has 50 point in just 50 games between the three of them.
- Buffalo Sabres – Cody Hodgson, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville – Just like the Islanders, it would be tough to imagine just where the Sabres would be without their top line. They have accounted for exactly half of Buffalo’s goals (27 of 54), and in 62 combined games played, they have amassed 59 points.
- Chicago Blackhawks – Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Brandon Saad and Dave Bolland, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp – There is a reason why the Chicago Blackhawks are unbeaten in regulation. They have two lines that can dominate any given game and it is tough for opposing teams to match. Saad is adjusting to the top line after being promoted. These top 6 are also very interchangable and you can see any combination thrown out there by Joel Quenville at any given time just to give opposing coaches yet another Hawk headache.
- Carolina Hurricanes – Eric Staal, Jiri Tlusty and Alexander Semin – This mish-mash line has found some serious chemistry, as demonstrated by the fact they have accounted for 53 points in 57 games.
- Boston Bruins – Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand – Depending on the night, this trio would be considered line 1 to the 1A of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton, but give the edge to the Bergeron line due to their ability to play great at both ends of the ice.
Lineups are often fluid and may not always play together, but the above combinations have been stable for the most part unless injury forces a change. Most of their teams would be far worse off if the combinations weren’t carrying the team on most nights.
What do you think is the best line in the NHL? Comment below!