TORONTO â€” Sometimes when three players click on the same line, the unit becomes bigger than the sum of its parts.
In the latest edition of NHL 100, a weekly series from The Canadian Press, we look back at some of the iconic lines in NHL history.
TRIPLE CROWN LINE
It didn’t take long for Los Angeles Kings forwards Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor to find chemistry.
The “Triple Crown Line” had at least one point in 56 straight games after their debut together in 1979. They played over six seasons as a unit until Simmer was traded to the Boston Bruins.
One of their best seasons came in 1980-81 when they combined for 328 points. It was the first time in NHL history that each player on one line had 100 points or more in the same campaign.
They were introduced as “Hockey’s Greatest Scoring Line” at the 1981 NHL all-star game in Los Angeles.
Sid Abel, Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay certainly lived up to their moniker with the Detroit Red Wings.
“The Production Line” finished 1-2-3 in the league scoring race in 1949-50. Lindsay led the way with 78 points, nine more than Abel and 10 more than Howe.
The Red Wings went on to beat the New York Rangers in a seven-game Stanley Cup final in 1950, despite losing Howe to injury in the opening game of the semifinals.
Howe returned next season and led the NHL in goals (43) and points (86).
The Red Wings were unable to defend their title but they did hoist the Cup again in three of the next four years.
Goaltenders would fret when they saw the imposing line of Elmer Lach, Maurice (Rocket) Richard and Toe Blake flying down the ice for the Montreal Canadiens.
“The Punch Line” offered a punishing combination of speed, scoring punch and some physical play that consistently kept the opposition on their heels.
Head coach Dick Irvin put the three forwards together at practice during the 1943-44 season and they helped lead the Habs to a Stanley Cup.
Lach won a scoring title the next year with 80 points and the line combined for 220 points as a unit that season, a record that stood for over two decades.
LEGION OF DOOM
Eric Lindros, Mikael Renberg and John LeClair made up one of the most intimidating lines in hockey when they played together for the Philadelphia Flyers in the mid-1990s.
All three were six foot two or taller and all three weighed over 230 pounds.
That physical presence helped them pile up the points as they threw their weight around on the forecheck and banged in rebounds after staking out the front of the net.
The linemates also showed a deft scoring touch. Lindros won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1995 while LeClair posted two straight 97-point seasons.
Injuries helped lead to the line’s breakup after an impressive 2 1/2-season run.
The members of this famous line â€” Gil Perreault, Rene Robert and Rick Martin â€” were a force with the Buffalo Sabres in the 1970s.
They delivered a strong run of production together, recording 1,681 points over 1,536 games from 1972-79.
Their retired number banners â€” Robert’s No. 14, Perreault’s No. 11 and Martin’s No. 7 â€” hang together in a row at the KeyBank Center.
Statues of the three players are also displayed outside the arena.
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press