How line chemistry impacts wins

Why teams like Boston and Colorado are poised for success in 2013-14

Updated: October 30, 2013, 3:41 PM ET
By Neil Greenberg | ESPN Insider

SedinJeff Vinnick/NHLI/Getty ImagesThe Canucks have had a lot of success when the Sedin twins skate on the same line.

If you have been around sports at any level for any length of time you have heard the old adage "There's no 'I' in team." As cliche as that phrase is, it is the truth: It's not possible for one skater to carry an NHL team for a whole season. But put two skaters together and allow them to develop chemistry, and good things start to happen. Apply that philosophy up and down the roster and you have a championship team in the making.

Take the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins, for example. Those teams met in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals after having the two most stable lineups over the regular season. Twins Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin spent 94 percent of their even-strength time together in Vancouver that season, with the Canucks forwards averaging 66.5 percent of their time skating with the same linemate. In Boston, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton spent over 81 percent of their even-strength minutes together, and the team sported a 65.2 percent average overall.

Vancouver won the President's Trophy that season, but lost to Boston in the Cup finals in seven games. Could having stable linemates among forwards be a contributing factor, or is "team chemistry" just another piece of hockey folklore?

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.