For the PPG line, when they take the ice against the St. Louis Blues tonight it could be like watching themselves play in the mirror as the Blues find themselves having a great season due in large part to their top line.
Alexander Steen has been long considered one of the most underrated players in the league. After this season you can no longer say that. Only has Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals scored more goals this season than Steen.
Teaming up with him has been Blues’ captain David Backes and winger T.J. Oshie. What do both lines have in common? They both are big, physical, and skilled wingers capable of playing a 200-foot game.
Steen leads the line in points with 32 (20+12), with Oshie and Backes come in behind him with 24 and 26, respectively.
Comparing that with the PPG line, their numbers are pretty similiar. The Steen line has combined for 37 goals, 45 assists for a total of 82 points. The PPG line beats them out by just seven points with a line of 41+48-89.
When you get into the ‘hits’ and ‘blocked shots’ categories, they pull apart a little more. While you can be a physical player without throwing a lot of hits, or as you can be a great defensive player without blocked shots – a player with an overwhelming amount of either two it becomes obvious that they are.
While the PPG line combines for a 96-hit total on the season, Backes alone has registered 90 body checks. And despite the Ducks blocking the third most shots in the league, the combination of Steen-Backes-Oshie have blocked ten more shots as an unit than the PPG line.
Both lines will garner the opposing team’s top defensive pairing and could even draw each other in key situations. For all the success that each line has had, it will likely come down to whoever can get some help from another forward line, who will be freed up from the attention going to the top line.
Anthony Murphy is the Editor at Pucks of A Feather. You can reach him by email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @AMurphyTFC.