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Eakin Sits Out Practice, but Expected to Play Saturday

Friday, 01.24.2014 / 3:42 PM / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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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.

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.

Also not on the ice for practice today in Frisco were forwards Rich Peverley and Shawn Horcoff. Ruff said both were off the ice for maintenance.

“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.”

Quotable

“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.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 64 41 16 7 192 155 89
2 ANA 64 40 17 7 189 177 87
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 64 38 21 5 188 152 81
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 62 36 23 3 180 167 75
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
9 LAK 62 29 21 12 166 162 70
10 SJS 64 31 25 8 179 181 70
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 63 27 26 10 196 210 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 63 23 37 -3 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 63 15 37 -5 52
E. Cole 57 18 15 4 33
T. Daley 60 16 17 -10 33
J. Klingberg 49 10 23 1 33
C. Eakin 60 14 14 -2 28
A. Hemsky 57 9 17 -9 26
A. Goligoski 63 2 24 1 26
A. Roussel 61 12 11 -11 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 10 .905 2.97
J. Enroth 13 25 2 .900 3.30
 
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