The Blues’ top line is rounding into form at the perfect time

Chris Wassel

2014-04-01

DavidBackes



St. Louis will be a tough out in the playoffs if their top line plays like it did last week



The final two weeks of the regular season are upon us. It has been a long six month journey to get to this point. All that work and struggle has brought you to this point but injuries have been a major thorn in everyone's side this year. Can we sidestep those and make a run toward glory? Let's go "Between The Lines" and find out.

 

Lead Us Forwards

 

There were a half dozen line combinations with ten or more points last week and none were the Phil Kessel line. Here are the top three.

 

Top Scoring Line – All Situations

Rank

Line Combination

Points

1

OTT – MACARTHUR,CLARKE – STONE,MARK – TURRIS,KYLE

17

1

STL – BACKES,DAVID – OSHIE,T.J. – STEEN,ALEXANDER

17

2

MTL – DESHARNAIS,DAVID – PACIORETTY,MAX – VANEK,THOMAS

15

Clarke MacArthur-Mark Stone-Kyle Turris (Ottawa) — This line clicked all week and was at or near the top in line production. However, the last couple of weeks they have been on fire and their PAT was a perfect 100% (17 for 17). Not surprisingly Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris have clicked with six and seven points respectively. Stone has been an excellent catalyst for the duo. He seems to be able to create space and shooting lanes which creates chances and goals obviously. Turris and MacArthur had seven goals between them and Ottawa plays run and gun so expect more offense. Just do not mind the defensive letdowns as they will occur.

 

David Backes-T.J. Oshie-Alex Steen (St. Louis) — Maybe the Alex Steen season was not a fluke after all. If it seemed like scoring was up with some lines, the Steen line went above and beyond the mean. They also had 17 points while on ice together and probably played the best defense among our top three this week. If you think about it, David Backes, T.J. Oshie, and Steen had 20 points overall on the week  Their frequency is (45.4% EV, 63.4% PP). No one should be surprised by this. The injuries and such have kept this line's compete level very high. Expect high numbers this week as well.

 

David Desharnais-Max Pacioretty-Thomas Vanek (Montreal) — Yes the line seems to give up scoring chances like its candy but they converted to the tune of a 15-point week. Your playoff team had to be happy that this line appears to be sticking from here on out. I will even throw Corsi and their at times awful defensive play, if they can keep producing at a 12-15 point clip. However, if they dip, you dip then we dip. That is just how it is going forward for this trio.

 

Defend This!

 

The top defensive guys are again Roman Josi and Shea Weber.

 

Top Scoring Line – All Situations

Rank

Line Combination

Points

1

NSH – JOSI,ROMAN – WEBER,SHEA

7

2

CBJ – JOHNSON,JACK – WISNIEWSKI,JAMES

6

2

NYR – GIRARDI,DANIEL – MCDONAGH,RYAN

6

Roman Josi-Shea Weber (Nashville) — It seems like Roman Josi and Shea Weber like to show up on weekends or that final game when you need them most. They were a force against Washington and that was enough to propel some fantasy owners in their playoffs. More than half of their points came on Sunday, their frequencies are through the roof, and they always seem to be around the top ten in average time on ice (2nd and 11th last week but both over 26 minutes). They have been very steady and don't expect it to change.

 

Jack Johnson-James Wisniewski (Columbus) — They are like the Vanek line when it comes to defense but can provide the offensive spark most of the time when needed.  Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski hammered out six points as a duo facing a pretty tough schedule last week. The pressure is still on this week but they need to be dominant on special teams for Columbus to make the playoffs. Fantasy owners simply need the power play boost. Let's be honest.

 

Dan Girardi-Ryan McDonagh (NY Rangers) — Everyone knows that Ryan McDonagh is on his way to being a Norris Trophy finalist it would appear maybe also from a fantasy perspective. He had a very nice four point week and is poised to join that elite fantasy value on defense that experts often talk about. McDonagh also fills categories across the board like Dan Girardi but obviously the "Mac Truck" gets the points. The Rangers are out west most of the week so who knows what the production will be like.

As always you can follow me @ChrisWasselTHW and thanks again for reading. Good luck this week as the fantasy hockey heads closer to the final curtain.


Recently from Between the Lines:

 

Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton have developed into a solid pairing 
Kyle Okposo is taking the lead on the Islanders top line 
The Blues have found themselves some secondary scoring 
The Avs have two potent lines for opponents to deal with 


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