Call it the Ontario Express.

Or maybe the 416 Line.

Or heck, how about a friendly nod to an iconic Toronto pop star with, “The Bieber Bunch?”

Truthfully, the trio of Tyler Seguin, Matt Duchene and Mason Marchment, who each hail from somewhere near an area known as the “Center of the Hockey Universe,” are perfectly fine getting away from their roots and playing hockey with a Star on their chest. So there’s no need for a nickname just yet. But if you watch that line play in recent games, some kind of heroic moniker might be required.

“I thought our line’s process and game was the best we’ve played as a trio and we’ve got to build on that,” said Duchene after he scored his first goal in a Stars uniform Monday in a 5-3 win over Columbus. “I said to the boys afterward that’s the standard of what we can do as a line.”

To be fair to the group, we have been a little impatient. Ever since the Stars signed Duchene as a free agent in the summer, the hunger to see what he could do with Seguin and Marchment has been voracious. Dallas is hoping to take the next step as a franchise, so the addition of Duchene, Craig Smith and Sam Steel creates the possibility for improved scoring depth. When the Duchene line didn’t immediately click, there was some disappointment and some reshuffling.

Looking back, there were reasons for a few hiccups. One, Seguin spent most of the preseason centering the top line in place of Roope Hintz, who was nursing an injury. Two, Duchene was trying to get used to a new team and a new city. And three, Marchment was trying to find his bearings after an inconsistent first season in Dallas. Each player was tried with other linemates in an experimental preseason. When they finally did get together, Seguin had to adapt to a move from center to right wing.

So yeah, there were some necessary adjustments.

“It felt like we were inching closer and finding that chemistry,” Seguin said. “There’s some situations where it clicks in Game 1, and there’s some situations that take a little time. I didn’t see them at all in training camp. I didn’t see them a lot in preseason, really, so it takes a few games.”

Stars coach Pete DeBoer moved Marchment to the fourth line for a few games, and that seemed to allow the physical winger the chance to get his bearings. Since being returned to the Duchene line two games ago, Marchment has been one of the team’s best players. The scrappy 28-year-old leads the Stars in penalties taken and penalties drawn with five apiece, and it seemed at times as if he was trying too hard to get the attention of the officials. DeBoer said Marchment just needed to find his focus.

“There’s no doubt early in the season he was trying to figure out where his game fits with two guys like Duchene and Seguin when he plays a totally different game from them,” DeBoer said. “It’s working through that process. I think early in the season he was trying to play their game a little too much. Recently, I think, he has brought his game to that line, and that’s what he’s got to do.”

In the past two games, Marchment has a goal, an assist and 14 shot attempts.

“He played unbelievable last game, he played unbelievable tonight,” Duchene said Monday. “When he’s using his size and his reach…he’s got the best stick I’ve ever seen on a guy in terms of takeaways and interceptions. His identity as a player, I think he’s playing big time to it right now. He’s got an unbelievable shot and a nose for where to go. I think there’s some unbelievable chemistry developing there, and with Seggy too.”

Seguin has been a stalwart in Dallas since the trade in 2013, but he has had ups and downs and dealt with several injuries. Two seasons ago, Seguin had 49 points in 81 games. Last year, he had 50 in 76. He’s learning to play with fewer minutes and in a different position, and he’s making the most of it. This year, being on a line with a player like Duchene could really help him get his scoring numbers back.

“I liken it to going and playing on a World Championship team or Team Canada,” DeBoer said. “You’ve got 12 centers on those teams so everybody has to be interchangeable. That’s the price of playing with good players. If you’re a skilled player, you’re signing up for a little bit of a position change to play with really good players all day long.”

Seguin said he has been learning more about how Duchene wants to play and has been adjusting his game because of it.

“I didn’t quite realize his puck possession abilities,” Seguin said of Duchene. “With that, I felt I would come to him a lot early in the games and I realized that he’s got the puck and I almost have to get away from him and find that soft space. That’s what I’ve been taking from the first six games. Before last game, I sat back and looked at his goals over the years, and just learning little things about him. The biggest thing I took was his puck possession and how he holds onto it.”

When it works, like it did Monday, it can be very effective.

“We probably should have had four or five,” Seguin said on the goal count.

So now they try to do that every game.

“We want to keep building,” Duchene said. “Next game, we can’t think about how good we were tonight, we’ve got to get right back on it and try to replicate it.”

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

Related Content