Photo by Dennis Schneidler | Getty Images
Within the vastly rich annals of the National Hockey League’s existence, there have been a fair share of excellent lines that have been awarded with marquee nicknames.
On one hand, you have the “Dynasty Line” that helped net the Montreal Canadiens six Stanley Cup victories during the 1970s.
More recently, you could talk about the “Legion of Doom” for the Philadelphia Flyers, which scored two Stanley Cup wins.
Then, of course, you have a current line quickly becoming more and more of a force to be reckoned with. While the nickname might not be as grandeur as other lines, it certainly gets the point across.
The “Perfection Line” refers to Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins. Together, the three have ignited a gluttony of scorching production on the ice that it serves to wonder why Zamboni drivers have not been paid double their rate yet.
To best understand why the line has achieved the nickname, let’s start by looking at the individual production of all three.
Before COVID-19 paused the 2019-20 regular season, Pastrnak, Marchand and Bergeron were top three in points on Boston’s squad (95, 87 and 56 points, respectively). Additionally, all three were the leaders in goals (Pastrnak with 48, Bergeron with 31 and Marchand with 28). When discussing power-play goals, Pastrnak and Bergeron netted 20 and 11, respectively. Both numbers ranked first and second on the team. In Pastrnak’s case, his 20 goals on the man advantage led the entire NHL. Marchand, meanwhile, collected five power-play goals, which ranked fourth on the team.
When looking in the game-winning goal department, all three were the cream of the crop on the team, as Pastrnak lapped the roster with 10 netters in that category. The 10 game-winning goals would lead the team. Bergeron and Marchand, meanwhile, collected five apiece, which was tied for second on the team (along with Jake DeBrusk). To sprinkle it off, two of the three (Marchand and Pastrnak) were the leaders on the team in assists (59 and 47, respectively). Bergeron was not far behind, as the center was sixth on the team (25).
It has become obvious at this point. Individually, all three forwards are excellent scoring creators and helpers.
Where does the perfection mantra come into effect, though? To be deemed the “Perfection Line” you would likely have to do more than just pad up the individual stats in the box score, right?
Precisely. Luckily for the line, they have aided all other lines in creating scoring opportunities.
To prove this, it is best to look at all 227 of Boston’s goals scored during the regular season. The number would rank seventh at season’s pause (which is impressive in itself), but how impactful was the “Perfection Line” in scoring those goals?
To dig deep, I looked at goals that involved none of the three forwards, one of the three forwards, two of the three forwards and all three of the forwards (on even-strength and the power play combined).
To begin, the Bruins scored 90 goals that involved none of the three forwards (which means none of the trio scored the goal or collected a primary or secondary assist). This would amount to 39.7% of Boston’s goals scored.
When looking at goals scored that involved only one forward, Boston scored 52 goals, which would amount to 22.9% of Boston’s goals scored.
How about goals scored that involved two of the three forwards? Boston scored 67 goals, which would come out to 29.5%.
Then, of course, you have the perfection that involves all three forwards. Of Boston’s 227 goals scored, 18 (including those scored on the power play) goals came from Pastrnak, Marchand and Bergeron together. While the number seems minuscule, it makes up the remaining 7.9% of the goals scored.
With some pencil, paper and simple addition, it can be concluded that the “Perfection Line” was involved in over 60% of Boston’s goals scored during the regular season.
In other words, one line, either via scoring or assisting, was involved in over half of the team’s goals.
The production goes beyond goals at even strength. When discussing all 57 power-play goals scored by the Bruins, at least one of the three forwards collected a point in 49 (or about 84%) of them. Of those 49 goals, 36 (or 73.5%) were scored by either Marchand, Bergeron or Pastrnak.
The production from the “Perfection Line” this season is impressive, but their production goes beyond this season. During their 2019 playoff run that took them to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins scored 79 goals. Of those 79, the line was involved (either via assist or goal scored) in 39 of them (46%).
Even with deep goaltending and excellent depth around the trio, the “Perfection Line” is named as such for a reason. Including excellent second and third lines spearheaded by DeBrusk, David Krejci, Charlie Coyle and Sean Kuraly, the “Perfection Line” supplemented their scoring opportunities and, also, individually helped their own. Without the “Perfection Line,” Boston’s offense would be significantly weaker not only at even-strength, but on the power play as well.
The argument can be made that the “Perfection Line” is not the most elaborate name among other famous lines in the NHL’s history.
Regardless, when looking at individual or team production, it does not get much better than what the three forwards of Boston provide.