In order for any NHL team to succeed, they need to have chemistry.
Some forward lines are better than others, for a variety of possible reasons, whether it be a knack for finding each other on the ice or just the fact that their styles of play mesh well together.
When a scoring line develops that type of relationship, they have the potential to become a dangerous force.
Without further adieu, here are the top 50 offensive line combinations since the beginning of the modern era (1990's until the present).
This group of forwards gets their label from the fact that each of their last names include the word "ash."
Alexei Yashin, Oleg Kvasha and Arron Asham formed a very effective line for the New York Islanders during the early part of the decade.
Yashin was a good passer, Kvasha could find the back of the net and Arron Asham would protect his teammates.
The reason this trio is referred to as a group of "smurfs," is that all three lack much size and stature.
Nonetheless, Saku Koivu provided invaluable leadership and contributed on offense, Valeri Bure could skate well and Oleg Petrov had a nose for the net, so things worked out for them in Montreal.
When you're playing home games in Sunny Florida, odds are, you're not getting much exposure around the league.
It appears these guys were perfectly fine with that arrangement. David Booth, Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss quietly developed a great deal of chemistry and the unit clicked immediately.
This trio, consisting of Glen Murray, Joe Thornton and Mike Knuble, were appropriately named, given the average height and weight of each player.
But, as they would show, these guys could score goals for the Boston Bruins as well.
Ryan Callahan has become one of the best players on the Rangers today, and, if you don't think he learned a ton of what he knows from playing on a line with Brendan Shanahan, think again.
The Rangers made the playoffs just once with this group intact, but they did play well during their time together.
The 'Ov Line gets their nickname from an obvious similarity in each of their last names.
Larionov, Makarov and Garpenlov were largely responsible for the Sharks' dramatic in-season turnaround of 1994.
The team would upset the heavily-favored Detroit Red Wings in the first round, only to fall to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Semifinals.
The Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk line helped the Colorado Avalanche get back to the postseason last year, lifting the team from out of the NHL basement and earning the respect of the hockey world.
Stastny's a solid all-around player, Smyth can crash the net and Hejduk has the ability to snipe from just about anywhere.
Combined, they became a winning bunch.
Hartford does not have an NHL team these days, but when the Whalers were in town, the trio of Andrew Cassels, Tomas Sandstrom and Pat Verbeek would keep fans at the edge of their seats.
The line was easily the team's best and it's a shame they were unable to stay intact longer.
During the mid-to-late 1990's this was one of the higher-scoring combinations in the league.
Of course, Yashin would take his talents to Long Island by 2001-2002, but until that point, he, along with Sean McEachern and Andreas Dackell created much havoc for their opponents.
Each member of this line played for the Chicago Blackhawks at one point, which is the logic behind their nickname.
They were a key factor in Philadelphia's success during the early 2000's, though Zhamnov, Roenick and Amonte weren't getting any younger.
During their 2007 Stanley Cup playoff run, in which they emerged victorious, this line was most responsible for the sudden lack of space in the Ducks' trophy room.
McDonald, Selanne and Kunitz provided much of the offense, as younger players such as Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry continued to mature.
These three arguably comprised the speediest line in hockey.
Between Roy's playmaking ability and the swiftness of Afinogenov and Vanek, the Sabres were able to create scoring chances, almost at will, whenever this unit was on the ice.
Each winger had his own specialty. Vanek carried a lethal shot and Maxim had great hands.
They were broken up after Buffalo chose not to re-sign Afinogenov, following the 2008-2009 season.
I would claim to know the reason behind their nickname, but I must admit, I have not the darnedest clue.
Regardless, they were certainly worth the hype.
This line had produced for the Devils since 2007. Unfortunately, only Travis Zajac remained by mid-season, thanks to a long-term injury suffered by Zach Parise, as well as a trade sending Langenbrunner to Dallas.
They helped New Jersey reach the postseason every year (the exception being this season) they were intact.
Though they did not always play together (Gaborik and Demitra would switch off between playing alongside Rolston and fellow countryman, Branko Radivojevic), they were quite the scare for opposing teams.
What's not to love about this combination?
You've got the strength and balance of Rolston (who also packs one heck of a slap shot), the blinding speed of Marian Gaborik and the finesse of Demitra.
That, my friends, is the recipe for a perfectly balanced line.
They helped the Minnesota Wild reach the playoffs throughout the 2000's, but none of them are still on the team.
One Swede and a pair of Czechs made a huge difference for the New York Rangers during the 2005-06 NHL season, the first since a labor dispute forced owners to declare a lockout the previous year.
The trio helped the Rangers clinch a playoff berth for the first time since the late 1990's, accounting for most of the offensive production on 34th Street.
Jaromir Jagr seemed quite comfortable with his linemates. Perhaps that's why he set two franchise records that year, accumulating the most points in a single season (123) and finding the back of the net 54 times, a feat that had yet to be accomplished by a Blueshirt.
Briere, Hartnell and Leino were put on a line together last season, and since that happened, they have yet to look back.
Once again, this group is able to have such chemistry because they are well balanced. It's a combination of Briere's quickness, Hartnell's strength and Leino's nose for the net.
They have become a crucial component of this Flyer lineup.
Selanne, Tkachuk and Zhamnov were dubbed the "Olympic Line" because all three forwards had experience representing their respective countries at the historic tournament.
Of course, the reason they were chosen to play in the Olympics is that they're talented.
That tends to bode well for a coach trying to put together a scoring line.
In time, however, only Tkachuk would remain in the organization as it was relocated from Winnipeg to Phoenix. Zhamnov bolted for Chicago and Selanne moved on to play for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (present day Anaheim Ducks).
The nickname represents the first letter of each line mate's last name.
During the 2001 playoffs, Palffy, Allison and Deadmarsh would be a major factor in the Kings' shocking upset of the Detroit Red Wings.
They only played together for a couple of seasons, but were effective during that span.
During the early-mid 2000's the Toronto Maple Leafs were a consistent playoff contender (believe it or not).
The biggest reason? This line.
It all starts with Mats Sundin, the face and leader of the Leafs, flanked by the electric Alexander Mogilny and super-pest Darcy Tucker.
The bottom line: You did not want to have to match-up against these guys.
As it turns our, two Bures are better than one.
The brothers complimented each other well, and Viktor Kozlov proved to be a solid center in his own right.
While they were not always scoring with consistency (on an individual level), each one picked up the slack when necessary.
The trio led Florida to the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1999-2000, which is the last time the franchise has played games beyond the regular season.
Guerin, Allison and Samsonov were the Bruins' top scoring line during the early 2000's.
They never led Boston to a Stanley Cup appearance, but they did play well and had lots of chemistry.
Bill Guerin would use his strength and scoring ability to compliment Jason Allison's underrated playmaking skills and Sergei Samsonov's electricity and skating ability.
Within a few seasons, the unit was broken up.
Mats Sundin chose to sign on with the Vancouver Canucks for the final go-around of his career.
Suffice to say, he was amply rewarded for his commitment, playing alongside Ryan Kesler and Pavol Demitra.
Kesler is a rare breed, in that he's sound defensively and blessed with offensive potential, while Demitra was merely a shadow of his former self. He could still play the game, but not at the level he once could.
The trio had no problem finding each other on the ice and, as a result, were very productive.
Vancouver fell short, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks during the postseason.
Shawn Bates, Michael Peca and Mark Parrish were likely the best Islander scoring line since the glory days.
They were coined the "Lucky Sevens," by then-Isles play-by-play radio announcer John Weidemen, because each player wore a jersey number ending with that digit. "Lucky Sevens" also happened to be the newest playable New York Lottery game at the time, another reason why the name was used.
Between 2001 and 2004, this unit helped the Islanders clinch a playoff spot during each of those seasons.
Michael Peca won a Selke Trophy in 2001-02 and Mark Parrish lead the NHL in goals during parts of three seasons.
Shawn Bates would rack up a career-high 52 points during his first year on that line, though his production would slip later on.
McKay, Peluso and Holik were a trio of shut-down forwards for the New Jersey Devils, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2000 and a second consecutive finals appearance in 2001.
With the exception of Holik, this line was not known for offensive ability, though they did score their fair share of clutch goals during their time together.
This line was put together during the 2007 season, and though they proved to be a strong group, the Hurricanes missed the postseason that year.
Staal, Stillman and Cole were able to mesh, because their styles of play complimented each other.
The rest of the team was not very strong in 2007, but these guys were a threat to score on every shift.
In 2007, the Anaheim Ducks captured their first Stanley Cup, largely thanks to these three players.
The way Getzlaf and Perry stepped up during that season, it should come as no surprise they've starred for Anaheim this year.
Dustin Penner would be signed to an offer sheet by the Edmonton Oilers, forcing the Ducks to dismantle the line.
Kovalev, Lang and Straka became the backbone of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the early 2000's.
In fact, they were so crucial to the team's success, that the Penguins decided to re-sign the three players, keeping that line intact, while choosing not to renew Jaromir Jagr's contract.
This was because Pittsburgh viewed KLS line more favorably than they did Jagr.
The Pens made the playoffs a few times with the trio at the forefront, but would not make a finals appearance.
Coincidentally, Alexei Kovalev is now back with the Penguins, as the result of a trade with Ottawa.
These three were known as the "Option Line," because each was in the final year of his contract, during the 1991 season.
As a result, Pittsburgh had two potent scoring-lines during that year, an advantage that would help the team win the Stanley Cup in '91.
The Penguins would win a second straight Cup in '92.
Between 2000 and 2006, Todd Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund comprised the top scoring unit for the Vancouver Canucks.
It's very rare that, in today's NHL, salary cap, free agency and all, a line stays together for an extended period of time, forget about five years.
Bertuzzi and Naslund were high-scoring forwards, while Morrison produced at a more modest rate. His contribution didn't always appear on the score sheet. He's the kind of player that does all the little things right, makes the smart plays and is anything but selfish with the puck.
After the lockout, their role was slowly reduced, as Daniel and Henrik Sedin became part of the picture in Vancouver.
Sure, they've only been together for a little while.
But, as you in No. 25, they've had plenty of experience, at least as a partial unit, the only change being Bobby Ryan in Dustin Penner's slot.
This line stacks up against any other team's top scoring unit, which is why Anaheim can make a surprise run in the upcoming playoffs.
All three have played in the Olympics, all three can score and all three are capable of leading this team.
This is the most electrifying trio in the National Hockey League. Period.
Backstrom is an incredibly gifted passer, Ovechkin and Semin are two of the best goal scorers in the world.
Capitals' head coach Bruce Boudreau has split them up at times, but when they're on the same ice surface, you know what you're up against.
Malkin, Sykora and Malone were a major factor in Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup Finals victory, during the 2008-2009 season.
Geno's star power, the grit and heart of Ryan Malone, as well as Petr Sykora's knack for being in the right place at the right time, were just some of the reasons why this line was so effective.
Malone was not re-signed the following year and subsequently joined the Tampa Bay Lightning, while Sykora became a member of the Minnesota Wild.
This Blackhawks' scoring line is oozing with talent and, is likely to improve as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews continue to grow.
These guys have won a Stanley Cup, two types of Olympic medals and it may seem like they've been playing for a long time now.
Nonetheless, they are still young and have not even reached their peak (in my opinion).
Don't underestimate Patrick Sharp either, he's quite the goal scorer.
Langenbrunner, Nieuwendyk and Verbeek were one of the top-two lines for the Dallas Stars in the late 90's and early 2000's.
With their assistance, Dallas would capture a Stanley Cup title in 1999, only to make another appearance in 2000, when they were defeated at the hands of the New Jersey Devils.
One thing each of these guys had in common was that they weren't necessarily the flashiest forwards, but they would find ways to put the puck in the net, doing whatever it took to make that happen, regardless of the physical toll required in doing so.
Named the "IKEA Line" because all three were Swedish (IKEA is a Swedish company, Sedin I, Sedin II and Markus Naslund would play alongside each other for a few seasons after the work stoppage of 2005.
Nowadays, the Sedins run the show on their own, but, back then, they certainly benefited from having Naslund as a linemate, just in terms of the pressure he took off them, in addition to the veteran leadership he exhibited.
I'm sure Daniel and Henrik have taken more than a few bits of information from Markus' playbook.
This was a dominant line, even though it's life was relatively short, with Naslund opting to go on the open market and sign with the New York Rangers.
The trio of Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez lead New Jersey to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2002-2003.
Gomez and Gionta were still getting their feet wet at the NHL level when the line was formed, but they showed none of the expected growing pains of a maturing player.
In fact, the way they looked as a unit, it was possible to mistake them for a pair of 10-year veterans, they played with that much poise and control.
Only Elias remained with the team, but Gionta and Gomez have been reunited as linemates with the Montreal Canadiens.
Kariya and Selanne were quite the dynamic duo, but people often forget that someone played in between the two stars.
That someone was Steve Rucchin, and he was a solid player too, thank you very much.
For several years in Anaheim, Rucchin notched between 55 and 65 points per season.
As for Paul and Teemu, they both could score, as well as pass. This unit was definitely unique in that each of the forwards could not only finish off the play, but could create the opportunity to begin with.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were able to win a Stanley Cup in 2004, in no small part because of their depth on offense.
While there were others who stepped up, Prospal, St. Louis and Lecavalier were one of the more dominant combinations in the NHL during that season.
St. Louis has the quickness and hands to make scoring chances our of peanuts and Vinny Lecavalier is the type of player who can score any which way.
But what about Prospal?
The Czech center only finished with 80 points that year, no cause for recognition.
He was one of the most underrated forwards in the league in '06 and still is today. He won't light up the scoreboard, but Prospal knows how to find open teammates. He's averaged 40-50 points a year for most of his career, because the guy can flat-out play.
This line was formed in 1999 and remained intact until the end of the 2002 season.
Arnott, Sykora and Elias led the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals twice in a row, winning one and coming up short in the second Finals.
The A Line played well at both ends of the ice, which made them an invaluable asset in 'Jersey.
It also doesn't hurt that this trio consists of three of the most clutch players of recent memory.
Since they were put together in 2006, Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Holmstrom have been one of the better lines we've seen in some time and, possibly the greatest one in the post-lockout era.
They helped the Red Wings capture Lord Stanley in 2008, but were not able to do so in 2009, when they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Finals.
These days, those three players are often mixed into other lines, so we don't get to see them as a trio as much as we previously could.
If there were a prime example of what a line should resemble, look no further.
You have the responsible, two-way forward in Datsyuk, the finesse player in Zetterberg and the net-crasher in Tomas Holmstrom.
Made simpler: This line can beat you three different ways because of the players they've chosen to mash together.
The Dallas Stars made, arguably, the greatest move in franchise history, when they signed Brett Hull as a free agent, prior to the 1998-99 season.
He did not disappoint, scoring 32 goals during his first campaign in Big D.
Stick him on a line with Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen, and you have the foundation of something great.
That "something" would be a Stanley Cup, a prize they would redeem in 1999, when they defeated the Buffalo Sabres in triple overtime of Game 6, on a controversial goal, which was, coincidentally, scored by Hull.
Hull, Modano and Lehtinen were among the NHL's biggest offensive threats during the late 90's and early 2000's.
Brett Hull figured one slide wasn't enough.
This time, he's with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, the line that played a pivotal role in securing Detroit's Stanley Cup victory over Arturs Irbe and the Carolina Hurricanes.
Henrik and Pavel were youngsters back in 2002, and as for Hull, well, he wasn't so young.
I would assume that the "Old Goat" mentioned in the unit's nickname is not a reference to Alex Delvecchio.
Known as the "United Nations Line," due to the fact that each member of the line hailed from a different country, this trio was active during the 1996 season, in which the Avalanche would take home their first Stanley Cup, by defeating the Florida Panthers.
Forsberg is one of the greatest Europeans in NHL history, Kamensky could play any way you asked him to and Claude Lemieux was the rare combination of enforcer and goal scorer.
Though they did not remain intact, their impact was certainly profound.
Lindros, LeClair and Renberg comprised the infamous "Legion of Doom" for the Philadelphia Flyers between 1995 and 1997.
Not only could these guys score, but they would wear teams down with their physical play.
They would be one of the most productive lines in the National Hockey League, combining for around 110 goals and 120 assists per season.
The Legion would play a major role in Philly's 1997 playoff run, where they fell to the Detroit Red Wings in four games.
After the shocking trade that sent the Great One to Los Angeles, Wayne found himself on a line with Tony Granato and Tomas Sandstrom.
The trio helped make the Kings, not only into a relevant team, but into a good one.
LA would earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993, where they were stymied by Patrick Roy and the underdog Montreal Canadiens.
Sandstrom would later play for the Detroit Red Wings, and Gretzky would be traded to the St. Louis Blues during the 1996-97 season.
Sakic, Tanguay and Hejduk became a key component of the successful Avalanche teams of the early 2000's.
There's certainly no lack of talent among these three.
Joe Sakic was one of the better players to ever lace 'em up, Alex Tanguay was (still is) a slippery offenseman and Hejduk served as the sharpshooter.
The line broke up when Tanguay found himself on the Calgary Flames, after Colorado decided to trade him at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
The Detroit Red Wings wasted little time exploring the new frontiers exposed by the lifting of the Iron Curtain in former Soviet-Russia.
Faster than you could say "Oleg Tverdovsky," the Wings brought aboard Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Slava Kozlov, Vladmir Konstantinov and Slava Fetisov.
Fedorov, Larionov and Kozlov developed the type of chemistry that wins championships, and they just so happened to win one in 1997.
Each of those players continued to have strong careers, but the pinnacle of their success was definitely in Mo-Town.
When you've got Steve Yzerman anchoring your line, you're in good hands.
Of course, when his linemates step it up a notch, that can only be a positive, which is precisely what happened in the case of Darren McCarty.
McCarty became a complete player throughout the 1997 regular season and playoffs, scoring the winning goal in Game Four of the Cup Finals against the Flyers.
As for Sandstrom, he was the same, talented forward that played alongside Wayne Gretzky in Los Angeles.
This line was built to win, and they symbolized everything that Red Wings team was all about: Hard work, skill and heart.
In terms of overall talent, the New York Rangers top unit during the 1994 season was absolutely off-the-charts.
You had the ultimate leader, Mark Messier, who may very well be the greatest "power forward" in the history of the National Hockey League, as the the centerpiece.
Adam Graves was some kind of goal scorer, but was also a tough customer. He didn't back down to anyone and he did all the little things that win hockey games. He was a team player in every sense of the word.
On the other hand, Kovalev's game was predicated on skill. His speed and quick hands turned this scoring line from a very good one into an exceptional one.
The proof of their success can be found on the Stanley Cup, under 1994.
If you thought the Rangers' forward combination was impressive, just wait until you see which names made up the Penguins'.
Let me know if any of these guys sound familiar to you:
Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis.
I'm guessing you've heard of all three, probably because two out of the three are in the Hockey Hall of Fame, while the other is undoubtedly headed there as well.
Now, imagine them on the same line. Scary, huh?
That's what other teams thought too, because having to deal with that group of stars was a nightmare for any opposing team.
They won two-consecutive Stanley Cups, in 1991 and 1992 and, in dominating fashion. That is, until they were finally put to rest by David Volek and the New York Islanders during the 1993 playoffs.
Lemieux, Jagr and Francis were the best line of the modern era, bottom line.
Follow Daniel Friedman on Twitter: @nyifaceoff360
Comments are welcome.