It’s true that good things come in threes and back in the day, it was the entire line that mattered most in hockey. But now, dynamic duos are more important in the NHL and this season Conor Garland and Dakota Joshua have been cooking.

The pair have provided strong depth for the Canucks while playing with a number of different centremen this year. Through various line iterations, they’ve found ways to score and have been a spark for the Canucks when they’ve needed it.

With two very different styles of play, Head Coach Rick Tocchet feels their individual strengths complement each other – Garland skates around with a vengeance and likes to keep the puck on his stick and Joshua has a keen sense for off-puck movement and is a physical player – plus their ability to read each other makes them a dangerous duo.

“I'd be crazy to ever split those guys up, they've been terrific for us. Whoever you play them with, they've usually tilted the ice or at least been neutral. Very rarely they're on the bad video because they're very good chemistry wise,” Tocchet said.

Their offence as a unit is highlighted by a career season for Joshua with 32 points, 18 goals and 14 assists, despite being out for six weeks with an upper-body injury, while Garland’s up to 45 points (19-26-45). 

They have flair and a knack for finding the net, but they play tough on both ends of the ice.

When Joshua and Garland are on the ice together, their goals for percentage at five-on-five is 69.8% — 30 goals for and 13 goals against. A big reason for their high control of the goal share has been how great they are around both creases, creating 137 high-danger chances for and efficiently defending their own net while allowing a paltry 76 high-danger chances against, good for a 64.3% control of HDCF.

“I just think it's a good matchup line for me, not so much even hard matchups, it just slots us well,” Tocchet shared.

That chemistry and ability to read off each well is the result of a lot of work they’ve put in individually, but also together over the last couple of seasons. They both pride themselves on not taking shifts off and want to help the team win any way they can.

“We both play with passion, and we’ve put in a lot of work. We’re on the ice together a lot just us two; we spent probably an hour and a half together on the ice in Buffalo [in January] going over stuff,” Garland said. “We sit together on the plane a lot and talk on the bus [as well]. There’s stuff behind the scenes that goes into us playing well.”

Joshua says they vibe on the same wavelength and says their teammates can look to them to keep things light in the locker room before practices and games.

“We're good friends, so it helps when you're playing for one another. You don't want to let the other person down and you want to come through for him at the end of the day. A good relationship off the ice has gone a long way on the ice,” Joshua said.

They’re both good communicators on the ice and aren’t afraid to express their opinions with one another. Joshua says their conversations help give him a different perspective whether it’s a play, passing angle or where to be to score. He also respects Garland’s tenacity and his ability to get position on much bigger opponents.

In the Canucks’ last home game of the season, Garland wasn’t afraid to get into the mix of a scuffle against the Calgary Flames. The 5-foot-8 Garland pulled Flames’ 6-foot-8 winger Adam Klapka out of the tussle to help protect his teammates.

“I like that he's not afraid to battle, he's not afraid to go into the corners, and he's got a very high hockey IQ which makes it easy to read off. He's the best player that I've ever played with consistently in my life, so it’s fun,” said the 6-foot-3 winger.

Garland talks about how poised Joshua is and his strong play in the neutral zone and physicality are just a few of the things he likes about his linemate’s game.

“I'm a big fan of his. We played together last year, I think we were out of the playoffs when we played together, so maybe it didn't get any recognition, but, we were really good together as a third line, and I felt confident in the summer that if I came back that I could play with him and have a good year,” Garland said.

The two are right at home playing together and have made it easy for Tocchet to plug and play different centres during the season. Tocchet was mixing lines early in the season and  the Scituate, Massachusetts native felt everything just clicked when he and Joshua settled onto the same line.

“We played really well with Teddy, he's a hard worker and brings an element of being below the goal line and defensively he helped us a lot. Millsy is a world-class player, that's a different element and then Lindy, same thing, he's a mixture of both where he makes a lot of offensive plays, but he's just so sound defensively,” Garland said.

They’ve contributed to each other’s successes this season and have given the team a boost when they need it, making Garland and Joshua’s dominance as a tandem on both ends of the ice undeniable. They’ve got a bond that’s helped elevate their game and they look to continue to put in the hard work to light up the scoreboard.