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Strome and Marner still looking for a permanent linemate on Canada's top trio

NHL.com @NHL

HELSINKI - Dylan Strome and Mitch Marner are Canada's top forwards at the world junior hockey championship, that much is sure.

But the third member of their line? That's still a guess.

Heading in to the international tournament, returning veteran Lawson Crouse was tapped to be on the wing with Marner while Strome centred the line. But in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the United States Strome and Marner started the game with John Quennville. Later, they were joined by Anthony Beauvillier and after that Brendan Perlini.

"I thought we played well with all of them," said Strome, who was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft and is arguably Canada's best player at the world juniors. "There's 13 forwards, so someone's always got to rotate in there. There's an extra spot for someone to play.

"You don't really even notice who's out there. You just go out there when your name is called and put your best foot forward for your country."

Strome had a power-play goal that was assisted by Marner and Travis Dermott on Saturday. Marner is also in the conversation as Canada's best player in the tournament after being drafted fourth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer.

Marner currently sits third in the OHL's points race with 22 goals and 36 assists for the London Knights. Strome is fifth with 16 goals and 37 assists for the Erie Otters.

"It's just what (head coach Dave Lowry) feels," said Marner of the line changes. "Whatever he feels is right, we're going to keep it."

Lowry doesn't see the line juggling as a way to motivate Strome and Marner. Instead he says he's going with the hot hand and trying to have Canada playing as efficiently as possible at all times.

"I'm just trying to get in the guys that are going," said Lowry. "In the third period, Perlini was skating and I like guys that can finish. I was using John Quenneville in a different role. We have to try and use your bench as much as possible."

Canada has Sunday off but will continue its tournament Monday against Denmark.

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