The Finest Lines SI senior writer Michael Farber's top 10 trios in hockey history (left wing--center--right wing)

January 13, 2003

1. Ted Lindsay--Sid Abel--Gordie Howe, Red Wings, late 1940s
through early '50s. The Production Line finished 1-2-3 in the
league in scoring in '49--50 and had two of the top three scorers
in three of the next four seasons.

2. Toe Blake--Elmer Lach--Maurice Richard, Canadiens, mid-1940s.
The Punch Line, featuring the indomitable Rocket, went 1-2-3 in
scoring in '44--45.

3. Esa Tikkanen--Wayne Gretzky--Jari Kurri, Oilers, mid-to-late
1980s. The Great One and Kurri, the best partnership since Bogart
and Bacall, soared no matter who rode shotgun.

4. Clark Gillies--Bryan Trottier--Mike Bossy, Islanders,
mid-1970s through early '80s. Perfectly constructed No. 1 line:
fabulous scorer (Bossy), dominant two-way player (Trottier) and a
banger (Gillies).

5. Woody Dumart--Milt Schmidt--Bobby Bauer, Bruins, late 1930s
through mid-'40s. The so-called Kraut Line was the first to
finish 12-3 in scoring, doing so in '39--40.

6. Steve Shutt--Jacques Lemaire--Guy Lafleur, Canadiens,
mid-to-late 1970s. The Flower's glitz carried this unit, but
Shutt buried his chances, and Lemaire did the dirty work.

7. Vladimir Krutov--Igor Larionov--Sergei Makarov, Central Red
Army, 1980s. Moscow old-timers might prefer the trio of Valeri
Kharlamov, Vladimir Petrov and Boris Mikhailov, but no line had a
more acute understanding of hockey's geometry than the KLM.

8. Wayne Cashman--Phil Esposito--Ken Hodge, Bruins, late 1960s
through mid-'70s. The line was led by Esposito, who dominated
heavy traffic in the Boston Garden bandbox.

9. Rick Martin--Gilbert Perreault--Rene Robert, Sabres,
mid-to-late 1970s. Sparked by the underappreciated Perreault, the
French Connection dazzled.

10. Busher Jackson--Joe Primeau--Charlie Conacher, Maple Leafs,
early to mid-1930s. Kid Line went 1-2-4 in scoring in '31--32;
Jackson and Conacher won scoring titles three times in a
four-year span.

B/W PHOTO: CORBIS NO. 1 Lindsay (leaping), Howe (center) and Abel (not shown).

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)