Ranking the Best 3-on-3 Combinations in the NHL in 2015-16

Lyle Richardson@@SpectorsHockeyFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2016

Ranking the Best 3-on-3 Combinations in the NHL in 2015-16

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    The introduction of the three-on-three format into NHL overtime this season provided teams more opportunities to ice their best three-on-three lineup combinations. Surprisingly, only a small number have enjoyed consistent success in the new format.

    Some, like the Los Angeles Kings' combination of Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty, have done well. Other clubs have one player, like Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames, who's been successful with a variety of teammates.

    Here's a look at this season's best three-on-three combinations in the NHL, along with several notable individual performers. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Notable 3-on-3 Performers

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    Johnny Gaudreau
    Johnny GaudreauAssociated Press

    The following are players who have put up good three-on-three numbers with a variety of linemates this season

    Mikkel Boedker, Colorado Avalanche. Traded to the Avalanche by the Arizona Coyotes in late February, Boedker still leads the Coyotes in overtime tallies. Those who assisted on those goals included forwards Brad Richardson and Antoine Vermette, defenseman Michael Stone and goaltender Anders Lindback. 

    Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames. Gaudreau leads the Flames with eight overtime points. Defensemen Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman, along with forwards Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund, contributed to his stellar numbers. 

    John Moore, New Jersey Devils. The 25-year-old defenseman has three overtime markers for the Devils. Among the players who assisted on those goals were forwards Joseph Blandisi and Adam Henrique.

    Jordan Staal, Carolina Hurricanes. With three goals and four points, Staal leads the Hurricanes in three-on-three scoring. Among his overtime linemates have been blueliners Justin Faulk, Ron Hainsey and Jaccob Slavin, along with center Eric Staal.  

7. St. Louis Blues: Alex Pietrangelo, Paul Stastny and Alexander Steen

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    Tim Sharp/Associated Press

    The St. Louis Blues' three-on-three scoring is spread throughout their roster. Seven players account for each of the club's overtime goals. Their main contributors are defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, center Paul Stastny and left wing Alex Steen.

    Pietrangelo leads the Blues in overtime points (three), while his two assists ties him for second with Stastny and rookie winger Robby Fabbri. Steen, meanwhile, has one of their three-on-three goals. He also assisted on a Kevin Shattenkirk overtime power-play tally on Dec. 12 against the Dallas Stars.

    Of the Blues' six three-on-three goals, Pietrangelo, Stastny and Steen were part of the scoring for four of them. That includes their teaming up for the game-winner on Dec. 29 against the Nashville Predators.  

6. Los Angeles Kings: Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Kings lead the league in three-on-three goals (10) this season. A big reason for that success is the combination of defenseman Drew Doughty and forwards Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. 

    Doughty is the Kings' three-on-three assist leader (four). He's also tied with Kopitar for the team lead with four points. Kopitar's three goals make him their top overtime goal scorer, followed by Carter with two goals and three points. 

    Of the Kings' 10 overtime goals, at least one of these three had a goal or an assist on seven of them. Doughty was also on the ice for Carter's game-winner on Oct. 31 against the Nashville Predators. Whether combined or with other teammates, Carter, Doughty and Kopitar are deadly in three-on-three play this season. 

5. San Jose Sharks: Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Centers Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, along with defenseman Brent Burns, are the San Jose Sharks' leading scorers this season. So it's no surprise they're also among the club's three-on-three leaders.

    Burns and Pavelski are tied with Tomas Hertl with a goal and an assist each. Thornton's two overtime assists tie him with blueliner Marc-Edouard Vlasic in that category. 

    Of the Sharks' five overtime goals, the trio of Burns, Pavelski and Thornton combined for two of them. The first came in their 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 17; the second came in a 2-1 victory on March 7 over the Calgary Flames. 

4. Edmonton Oilers: Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Andrej Sekera

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    While this season has had few bright spots for the Oilers, they're among the top 10 in three-on-three goals. Part of the credit belongs to right wing Jordan Eberle, center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and defenseman Andrej Sekera.

    Sekera leads the Oilers with two goals and four points in three-one-three play. Eberle is second in points (one goal, two assists), while Nugent-Hopkins' two assists ties him for third in three-on-three points with center Leon Draisaitl. 

    Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins both assisted on Sekera's overtime goals on Dec. 14 against the Boston Bruins and on Jan. 4 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Except for the Oilers' 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 9 and their 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on March 1, at least one of the trio had a hand in the other two three-on-three goals. 

3. Dallas Stars: Jamie Benn, John Klingberg and Tyler Seguin

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    The Dallas Stars rank among this season's top teams in three-on-three goals. What's not surprising is superstar forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin and top defenseman in John Klingberg account for the bulk of that scoring.

    Klingberg leads the Stars with three goals and five points in three-on-three situations. Benn and Seguin each have a goal and three assists for four points. 

    The trio combined for overtime winners on Nov. 14 and Nov. 28 against the Minnesota Wild. At least one of them factored in the Stars' other three-on-three goals. Only one was scored by someone other than Benn, Klingberg or Seguin. 

2. Philadelphia Flyers: Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere and Jakub Voracek

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Flyers are among this season's top 10 teams in three-on-three scoring. Much of the credit should go to center Claude Giroux, rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and right wing Jakub Voracek. 

    Voracek leads the Flyers with five overtime points. He's also tied for the assist lead (3) with Giroux. Gostisbehere leads the club in overtime goals with four. Two of those came during three-on-three play and the other two on the power play. 

    Of the Flyers' nine overtime victories, Giroux, Gostisbehere or Voracek had a hand in all but one. The trio also teamed up for overtime goals against the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 23, the Nashville Predators on Nov. 27 and the Washington Capitals on Jan. 27

1. Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews

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    Andrew Nelles/Associated Press

    It's not surprising to find the Chicago Blackhawks among this season's leaders in three-on-three goals. With a combination like center Jonathan Toews, defenseman Brent Seabrook and right wing Patrick Kane, offensive fireworks can be expected. 

    Toews has a league-leading five overtime goals, four of which came in three-on-three play. Seabrook leads the Blackhawks in overtime assists and points (six each), while Kane has four assists in the extra frame. 

    Kane, Seabrook and Toews combined for goals against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 24, the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 26 and the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 31. They're among the NHL's most dangerous three-on-three combinations. At least one of these three had a hand in each of the Blackhawks' overtime tallies this season.

    Stats accurate as of March 14, 2016, and are courtesy of NHL.com and war-on-ice.com