Sebastian Hedley-Noble The Hockey Writers
The NHL’s Best Line
There’s a new top line in the town of the NHL. It might come as a big surprise to some, though it shouldn’t at all when you really look at it. The Colorado Avalanche, who stumbled out of the gates quite badly, have the NHL’s best line.
That line consists of Matt Duchene, Gabe Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon. And with this new line brings new hope and excitement not only around the Avalanche and their season, but around the state of Colorado as well. They are that fun to watch.
Sure there are great pairs such as Jamie Benn/Tyler Seguin, Patrick Kane/Artemi Panarin, John Tavares/Kyle Okposo, Thomas Plekanec/Max Pacioretty, and Nicklas Backstrom/Alex Ovechkin. But those are all pairs, with the Avs new top line, it’s hard to argue against Landeskog/MacKinnon/Duchene as they are three, and full of power, skill, and most of all, youth.
Coach Patrick Roy obviously has not been pleased by his club’s start to the year. When Alex Tanguay went down with his injury, Roy needed to shuffle the pack. After trying multiple combinations, he finally came across one that has completely taken over for the team.
Breaking up the great one-two punch down the middle with Duchene and MacKinnon by putting them on the same line had me doubting the decision. I am happy to admit that my doubt was way wrong.
Landeskog plays on the left-wing, while MacKinnon and Duchene rotate on face-offs, depending on location of the draw since one is a righty, the other a lefty, giving them a nice little advantage. The 1-2-3 line, named after their overall draft positions, has brought Colorado back to life at just the right time.
When you consider that these three players are ages 24(Duchene), 23(Landeskog), and 20(MacKinnon), you have to wonder just how good can they get? The answer is simple, better and better. They are VERY young, and with every game they play, they are still learning more and more, which is a scary thought for the rest of the NHL.
Duchene’s goal was the 138th of his career, tying Adam Deadmarsh for 11th place on the franchise’s all-time list. https://t.co/GbUgrERjmN
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) November 29, 2015
Duchene now has 12 goals with 10 assists, for 22 points in 23 games played, Landeskog has 7 goals and 13 assists for 20 points in 21 games, and last but certainly not least, MacKinnon has 10 goals along with 14 assists for 24 points in 23 games. That is 65 points for one line at the quarter point of the season. Yes I know the Benn/Seguin line has more points but they have been together from the beginning of the year, this Avalanche line was just put together recently.
Keeping it Going
Now that they’ve established themselves as a dominant line, they have to concentrate on bringing that on a nightly basis which is exactly what they’ve been doing. Since they have been put together, it feels as though they control the game whenever on the ice, making it very exciting hockey to watch.
Roy has said he does not intend to break this line up, even with some guys coming back from injury, and why the hell would you?! The 1-2-3 line has a great mix of skill, power, finesse, and just plain hard work.
If they can keep up this pace, which seems very probable, along with some key players returning, the Avalanche have an opportunity to forget about the bad start and build towards a great finish.
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