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Tale of the Tape: Marchand, Pastrnak vs. McDavid, Draisaitl

Steve Babineau / National Hockey League / Getty

The battle atop the NHL points leaderboard is a four-man race between two of the league's top duos.

David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Leon Draisaitl, and Connor McDavid rank top four in the league in points. Pastrnak leads in goals with 14, and Draisaitl trails him by just one.

Player GP G A P
Pastrnak 14 14 15 29
Marchand 14 10 18 28
Draisaitl 16 13 14 27
McDavid 16 7 17 24

The Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers are first in their respective divisions largely because of these players, but which pair holds the edge?

The case for Marchand, Pastrnak

Pastrnak/Marchand 14 18 7 165:37 61.93 58.80

Stats are at even strength

GF = goals for, GA = goals against, xGF% = expected goals for, CF% = shot attempt differential

The Bruins have cruised to six straight wins while earning points in their last 10 games, and they've lost just once in regulation this season. Much of their success can be attributed to first-line juggernauts Pastrnak and Marchand, with help from their center Patrice Bergeron.

Through 14 contests, Marchand has recorded two five-point games, and he's riding a career-best 13-game point streak. Pastrnak has also been terrorizing opponents, and he leads the league in goals and points.

The Boston wingers' underlying numbers show how dominant they've been to start this season. Averaging just under 20 minutes per game, the two have been driving play in the offensive zone and rank among the top forwards in Corsi For Percentage.

They help generate offense from all over the zone when on the ice.

Marchand and Pastrnak have combined for 24 markers, which accounts for 46 percent of the Bruins' goals this season.

The case for McDavid and Draisaitl

McDavid/Draisaitl 16 20 11 261:00 46.60 46.54

After McDavid and Draisaitl were responsible for 40 percent of Edmonton's goals last season, linemate James Neal has supported them early this campaign with his secondary scoring. The high-octane duo is still off to a scorching start, even if the underlying numbers aren't as flashy.

Their time on ice is the stat that jumps out. Among all forwards, McDavid and Draisaitl rank first and second in ice time, averaging just under 24 minutes per night. The two are playing hard minutes in Edmonton, and they start shifts and play in the defensive zone more often than last year.

McDavid continues to drive play at a high rate when in the offensive zone, creating lots of scoring chances from high-danger zones. Draisaitl, meanwhile, has had less of an isolated impact in the offensive zone than his linemate so far this season.

The pair have combined for 20 goals this year, which is 44 percent of the Oilers' total. With linemate Neal's 11 goals included, the line has notched 69 percent of the team's tallies.

Bottom line

The Bruins duo holds the edge early this season due to its better production. Pastrnak and Marchand may enjoy the luxury of playing with one of the league's best two-way centers in Bergeron, but we shouldn't penalize them for that.

With tons of hockey left to be played, it'll be a treat to watch these four superstars duke it out at the top of leaderboards.

(Advanced stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick)

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