These probably aren’t the line combinations fans expected to see at this point of the season.
As soon as the ink dried on Micheal Ferland’s contract back on July 10, both armchair general managers and the Vancouver Canucks themselves had the hulking winger penciled in beside Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser.
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That trio lasted all of two games together. Ferland struggled to produce on the top line and was swiftly demoted. Meanwhile, one of the Canucks’ best forwards during the first two games, J.T. Miller, was promoted to the top line.
Their strong play through three games has solidified the top line for the time being. It’s also signified the birth of an awesome new name for the trio: “The Lotto Line.”
I'd just like to say, our top line has a nickname that needs to start now.
"The Lotto Line" I'll wait while you figure it out.#Canucks
— Jacob Calvert (@CanuckCalvert) October 16, 2019
Lotto line posting winning numbers so far
The numbers on their back might represent the most popular lottery in British Columbia (6-40-9), but it’s their production on the ice that has to have head coach Travis Green thrilled about his newest offensive trio.
Since the line was formed prior to the home opener last week, the trio of Miller, Boeser, and Pettersson have led the Canucks in scoring. Miller has six points over those three games, while Pettersson and Boeser have five apiece.
The game against the Los Angeles Kings was a breakthrough game for Miller. He set a career-high with four points that night, and followed that up with two more points against the Detroit Red Wings.
Never any doubt. What a shot by Miller! pic.twitter.com/1taDesXJU5
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 16, 2019
He was a big reason why the power play got on a roll against Detroit, with the Canucks going three-for-five with the man advantage. The Lotto Line had a combined six power play points on the night, and Miller scored two goals with the man advantage.
“I think that we just kept doing a lot of the same things,” Miller told reporters after the game on Wednesday. “We shot a couple more pucks, and I think it was just a matter of time.”
At even-strength, the trio hasn’t been quite as dominant, but they’ve still been able to bury their chances. Miller and Boeser have an even-strength goal differential of 83%, while Petterson’s is 75%. The fact that their Corsi hangs around 50% since becoming a line shows that they’ve been a bit lucky, but you could say that suits the Lotto Line moniker thus far.
Great Canucks line nicknames in recent history
With another top-notch line nickname now entrenched in Canucks lore, here’s a look at some of the other great line nicknames from years past.
With apologies to the Life Line and the Kid Line, we’re going to limit this to recent history (ie. the last 20 years).
Here they are, ranked in terms of creativity, rather than line success:
5. The IKEA Line (Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Markus Naslund)
Although this trio boasts three of the best players in team history, the IKEA line was a short experience. Still, the combination of three polite and quiet Swedish players got the nickname “the IKEA line.” It’s good for a chuckle, but certainly not the most creative line nickname in team history.
4. The RPM Line (Ryan Kesler, Pavol Demitra, Mats Sundin)
If Pavol Demitra and Mats Sundin were still in their prime when this line was a thing, this could have been one of the most dangerous trio’s in hockey. There’s some cheeky creativity there based on the first letter of all three player’s first names, although Kesler was really the only one playing at about 6000 RPM’s.
3. American Express (David Booth, Ryan Kesler, Chris Higgins)
Another Kesler line makes an appearance on this list. Although this line might have been disbanded because of copyright infringement, it was probably because there wasn’t any long-term success as a trio.
For a short time, however, this line earned their nickname because the American trio played the game aggressively and with speed, especially David Booth and Kesler.
2. West Coast Express (Todd Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund)
This one ranks higher on this list because the name was actually derived from their play on the ice, instead of some playful tongue-in-cheek nickname. Like the West Coast Express barreling down the tracks, this line was unstoppable for much of the early 2000’s.
1. The Mattress Line (Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Jason King)
This was by no means the greatest line in Canucks history, but they arguably have the greatest name. Two twins and a king? You’ll be hard-pressed to find a nickname as creative as this one again in Canucks history, even if the Lotto Line gives them a run for their money.