Eakin Sits Out Practice, but Expected to Play Saturday
Stars center Cody Eakin did not practice today, but is expected to play Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins at American Airlines Center.
Eakin left Thursday’s game early in the third period after taking a hit to the head from Toronto forward Colton Orr.
“Cody is doing good. I anticipate him playing tomorrow,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We just kept him off on maintenance.”
Orr, whose shoulder appeared to catch Eakin in the head, was not penalized for the hit, and there was no word of any possible supplemental discipline from the NHL on Friday.
“All the bays were filled today,” said Ruff. “Some guys a little nicked up, banged up so they stayed off.”
Here come the Penguins
Coming off two solid wins in a row, the Stars face a big test on Saturday in the Pittsburgh Penguins, the top team in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins have won four of their last five games and are 7-1-1 over their last nine.
“I know they are one of the hardest teams on the puck in the East. They are right there with Boston,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “They are a really hard competing team on the puck. A dynamic team on the rush, just like Toronto. We’re going to have to be diligent. We did a great job against Toronto, plugging it up, getting above and making sure we didn’t make the foolish plays that allowed the high-skilled opportunities. That’s going to be a big deal again.”
The Penguins, who rank fourth in the league in goal scoring at 3.22 per game, have scored four goals or more in 10 of their last 15 games. They have three players ranked in the top 11 in league scoring: Sidney Crosby (first), Chris Kunitz (tied-sixth) and Evgeni Malkin (tied-11th).
“Their top end is elite,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “We’ve got to take time and space away from them because if you give them too much time they are going to burn you.”
“You don’t want to give them the good ice, you want to keep them on the outside,” said Stars defenseman Trevor Daley. “They’re going to get chances, it’s try to limit their Grade A chances to a minimum.”
The Stars’ special teams have been good lately. The power play has scored in six straight games and the penalty kill hasn’t allowed a goal in the last four. The Penguins power play is tops in the league and so is their penalty kill.
“Special teams will be a big deal,” said Ruff. “They can make some really good plays. Our discipline is going to have to be real good.”
“I don’t know. It would be a fun one to win. Just where we are, all the teams are important. We’ve just got to find a way to go out there and get a win.”
-Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski on if playing against Pittsburgh, his former team, has any special meaning.