How do the Devils Top Two Lines Compare to Their Hated Rivals? (Atlantic Division)

The Devils are a little over halfway through the season and we have seen seven players with at least 10 goals, and most of them have hit at least twenty points as well. Since hockey is a team game, I wondered what this meant in terms of how strong the Devil's lines are.

The Atlantic Division, until last night, had four of its five teams in the top eight of the Eastern Conference. This brought an idea to my mind, who has the best scoring lines in the highly competitive division? I took a look at the top two lines for each team in the division and found some interesting results.

First off, I gathered most of the stats from nhl.com and the relative corsi statistic from behindthenet.ca. I covered only the top two lines for each team because a vast majority of each teams scoring came from those two lines. I'll start with Jersey's team:

Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk

Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus

Line #

GP

G

A

P

AVG +/-

PIM

GW

S

AVG S%

AVG Corsi

1

121

45

65

110

-1.00

45

7

394

12.13

2.6

2

128

37

47

84

-2.33

64

6

257

15.2

9.1

The Devils' top line has put up 110 points with 121 games played between the three skaters. This line is averaging .9 points per game while the second line is averaging .66 points per game. Each line is shooting between 12 and 15 percent, not shabby. Another thing that I anticipated, the second line is way better at puck possession; their average relative corsi is about 6 higher than the first line. The first line has taken about 140 more shots than the second line. This is not a bad one-two punch. In order to really see how good these lines are, we need to look at the other four teams in the division. Next we will look at the team from across the Hudson, the Rangers:

Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik

Brandon Dubinksy - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan

Line #

GP

G

A

P

AVG +/-

PIM

GW

S

AVG S%

AVG Corsi

1

119

39

44

83

11.00

54

8

291

12.5

3.33

2

120

34

49

83

5.00

125

10

297

10.96

1.63

The Rags' have a more balanced first two lines, with each line averaging about .69 points per game. The Rangers' top lines have overall lower shooting percentages and lower corsis as well. They do have more game winning goals from their top lines. So for those of you who believe in clutch players, apparently the Rangers have them. What surprises me is the massive amount of penalty minutes the second line accrued so far this season. But then I remembered it was the Rangers' lines.

Next up, the Flyers:

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr

Maxime Talbot - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek

Line #

GP

G

A

P

AVG +/-

PIM

GW

S

AVG S%

AVG Corsi

1

113

48

68

116

11.67

95

9

293

16.23

5.23

2

120

29

44

73

4.67

87

5

259

11.7

-0.13

First thing I took notice to, again a more penalized top two lines than the Devils. Then I realized this shouldn't surprise me, The Devils have always been a more disciplined team, and it's nice to see DeBoer keeping that trend. The Flyers have less balanced lines than both the Rangers and the Devils. That has a lot to do with Giroux, who has 48 points in 37 games. As much as I strongly dislike the Flyers, Giroux is darn good. The Flyers' second line is not too good at puck possession, at -0.13 which means that their second line is much weaker than it appears if you just look at points and plus minus.

The three teams mentioned above are all in playoff spots at the moment, and we see that the Rangers have the most balanced scoring, with the Devils slightly biased towards the first line, and Philly relying heavily on their first line. The most surprising thing with these three teams, the Devils actually have the highest scoring top two lines with 194 points. A happy thought! But then if we look at the average scoring for each team's top two lines we see a different story. The Flyers top two lines average .81 points per game, the Devils are second with .78 PPG, and the Rangers average .69 PPG.

Next, I'll list the Penguins top two lines followed by the Islanders:

Penguins:

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal

Matt Cooke - Pascal Dupuis - Tyler Kennedy

Line #

GP

G

A

P

AVG +/-

PIM

GW

S

AVG S%

AVG Corsi

1

119

51

57

108

-1.00

90

9

458

11.06

13.86

2

115

23

34

57

1.00

56

5

290

8.06

-0.16

Islanders:

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Brian Rolston (LOL) - Frans Nielsen - PA Parenteau

Line #

GP

G

A

P

AVG +/-

PIM

GW

S

AVG S%

AVG Corsi

1

117

43

51

94

-5.00

30

7

327

13.36

3.83

2

113

18

44

62

-7.33

41

3

229

7.96

8.16

The Penguins have the most unbalanced top two lines, but they score about .71 PPG, higher than the Rangers. This gives you sort of a warm feeling knowing that the Rangers top two lines are not all they are hyped up to be; Then again... we all knew that deep down.

And finally... the Islanders, well, they're top two lines are scoring at .67 ppg. Not as bad as I'd thought, but then again, not that great. For those of you who miss Brian Rolston, he has 4 goals and 4 assists in 33 games, I surely don't miss him.

Hope you found this interesting. I'm not saying that the top two lines make up an entire team, but they do account for most of the scoring. I thought it was worthwhile to note that the Devils have two balanced lines who can score, just in case one line cools off or isn't quite ready to show up one night. What do you guys think of the Devils top two lines? Do you think the Devils top line should be in the talk of best line in the NHL? Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts below!

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