NHL

NHL Power Rankings: The Top 8 Second Lines Remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Brad LeClairCorrespondent IApril 28, 2011

NHL Power Rankings: The Top 8 Second Lines Remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 26: Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks tips the puck towards goalie Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks while being watched by Chris Campoli #14 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period in Game Seven of th
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    After one of the most thrilling, exciting, edge-of-your-seat first rounds in the history of the NHL, we can only hope the second round will live up to what the first round brought us in entertainment value.

    Four of the eight series went to a Game 7, eventually with most of the higher seeds eventually taking the series. Only one minor upset happened, even if you can call it that, when the Nashville Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks in six hard-fought games, four games to two.

    We now look forward to the second round and its matchups. Here you will likely see matchups and game plans executed at every whistle, so home ice should prove to be an advantage for most teams.

    In this slideshow, I plan on ranking the top remaining second lines left in the NHL. Some have changed since the season began, some have not.

    For the purpose of this article, I will be sourcing DailyFaceoff.com for all second lines left in hockey.

8. Nashville Predators (Sergei Kostitsyn--Mike Fisher--Patric Hornqvist)

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    NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 17:  Mike Fisher #12, Sergei Kostitsyn #74, and Patric Hornqvist #27 of the Nashville Predators celebrate the go ahead goal against the Anaheim Ducks in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley C
    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    We start of the list with the obvious choice, and that's the Predators second line.

    I'm not going to nitpick their second line, because honestly, their top six is likely two second lines. The team doesn't boast a top line center, and they really don't have a consistent wing goal presence, other than maybe Patric Hornqvist.

    The best part about it, though, is this team continues to put wins up on the scoreboard.

    This is the first year they advanced past the first round, so kudos to Barry Trotz and David Poile for their long-awaited second round berth into the playoffs.

7. Tampa Bay Lightning (Simon Gagne--Vincent LeCavalier--Teddy Purcell)

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    TAMPA, FL - APRIL 18: Vincent Lecavalier #4 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the St. Pete Times Forum on April
    Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

    At the beginning of the NHL season, the Lightning had one of the better top sixes in the NHL, and still today, despite a few new faces, they still have one of the better top two lines in the NHL. Blessed with two legit top line centers in Steven Stamkos and Vinny LeCavalier, the Lightning don't have any worries up the middle for years to come.

    Ryan Malone took over for Steve Downie on the top line, which also moved Teddy Purcell to the top six. Downie makes his home now on the Lightning's bottom six, where eventually he may belong given his grit and skill set.

    Simon Gagne, when healthy gives the line a lot of two way effectiveness. However if Gagne is injured, this line struggles defensively.

6. Washington Capitals (Marco Sturm--Jason Arnott--Alexander Semin)

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20:  Alexander Semin #28 of the Washington Capitals scores a goal in the third period against goalie Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Pla
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    With the injury to Mike Knuble, the Capitals top six has taken a bit of a hit, but again, it's still one of the more offensively explosive top two lines in hockey.

    With a healthy Knuble, Brooks Laich moves down to the second line in place of Sturm, and the Capitals again boast two top lines.

    For the Capitals to be successful, they need secondary scoring, and with this line combination, they should get it against the Lightning.

5. Vancouver Canucks (Mason Raymond--Ryan Kesler--Mikael Samuelsson)

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - OCTOBER 26: Mason Raymond #21 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates with Ryan Kesler #17 after scoring against the Colorado Avalanche in overtime to win the game during NHL action on October 26, 2010 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    This line likely boasts the best second line center in all of hockey, but manning his wings are two of the more inconsistent wingers this season for the Canucks. Both Samuelsson and Raymond had down years compared to last year, but still they are one of the better second lines in the NHL.

    If they got consistent production from the wings, like the Canucks get from their first line wingers (Alexandre Burrows and Daniel Sedin), Ryan Kesler wouldn't just be up for the Selke Trophy, but probably many more awards.

4. Boston Bruins (Mark Recchi--Patrice Bergeron--Brad Marchand)

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    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 13:  Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins is congratulated by teammates Brad Marchand #63,Mark Recchi #28 and Steven Kampfer #47 after Bergeron scored in the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 13, 2011 at th
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Probably one of the better two way lines in the entire NHL, this line you can argue has been Boston's best line, and most consistent line throughout the season. This line helped the Bruins claim victory over Carey Price, PK Subban and the rest of the Montreal Canadiens.

    Led by veteran Mark Recchi, this line has always been a thorn in the side of many teams, and should prove to be a hassle for the Philadelphia Flyers to deal with.

3. Detroit Red Wings (Danny Cleary--Henrik Zetterberg--Todd Bertuzzi)

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    GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 05:  Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings in action during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on March 5, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Red Wings 5-4 in an overtime shoot out.
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    This job is tough picking out the best second lines left in the NHL, because to be honest, they're all great. This second line in Hockeytown may have the most experience in the NHL, but it also has quite a bit of skill.

    Danny Cleary gives the line a good two-way presence, while Todd Bertuzzi gives them an intimidating front of the net presence. With the skill set of Henrik Zetterberg, Mike Babcock can turn to either of his top two lines for a much needed equalizing goal, but also top protect a one goal lead in the final minutes of a game.

    Now that's living life in luxury if you ask me.

2. Philadelphia Flyers (Jeff Carter--Claude Giroux--James VanRiemsdyk)

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 26:  Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates during warmups prior to their game against the Buffalo Sabres in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo C
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The Flyers lines are really tough to judge. Why? Because they're all No. 1 lines.

    A lucky conundrum to have to say the least. The Flyers boast one of the best, toughest, nastiest front 12 in the NHL. Even with Jeff Carter injured right now and Nikolay Zherdev replacing him, this second line is one of the most dangerous in the entire NHL.

    Sparkplug Claude Giroux is the battery that gives this line life and is still one of the NHL's most underrated players.

1. San Jose Sharks (Ryan Clowe--Logan Couture--Dany Heatley)

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    SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 14: Logan Couture #39 and Dany Heatley #15 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after Couture scores a goal against the Los Angeles Kings in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals  during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at th
    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Were getting down to the nitty gritty here, and this line again is likely a top line on 85 percent of the league, but in San Jose, they're the teams second line.

    To speak about San Jose's depth for a second, they have Joe Pavelski as their third line center, so things are definitely up in the Bay Area.

    They'll be in tough against a stingy Detroit defence, but this second line—if Dany Heatley wakes up from his year long slumber—will be a nuisance for the Wings to deal with.

    They have a potential 50-goal scorer (Heatley), a 20-goal, 60-point, 100-penalty minute man (Clowe) and a likely rookie of the year winner in Couture, what more could you want from a secondary scoring line? That's what makes them the best second line in the NHL.

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