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Patrick Eaves of Ducks skates for first time since injury

Coach Randy Carlyle says forward 'one step closer' to rejoining lineup

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks forward Patrick Eaves skated Saturday for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Edmonton Oilers on April 30, coach Randy Carlyle said.

Carlyle later said that Sunday would be important in terms of assessing how Eaves responds after the first day back on the ice. Eaves initially had his right foot in a walking boot and required crutches for a time after the injury.

"So he's testing it," Carlyle said. "And obviously that's a good sign when we have players on the ice. It means they're one step closer to joining our lineup."


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Eaves, who scored 21 goals for the Dallas Stars before being traded to Anaheim on Feb. 24, reached 30 goals for the first time in his NHL career by scoring nine times in his first 17 games with the Ducks. He finished the season with career highs in goals (32) and points (51) in 79 games.

The Ducks have missed Eaves' presence on the power play and his chemistry with center Ryan Getzlaf. Eaves had four points (two goals, two assists) in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games before the injury.

Carlyle referenced the absence of Eaves when asked about Predators No. 1 center Ryan Johansen, who is out for the remainder of the playoffs because of a left-thigh injury that required emergency surgery.

Johansen, who was injured in Game 4, is Nashville's leading scorer in the playoffs with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 14 games.

"When you lose players, it's part of life in the playoffs," Carlyle said. "We lost a pretty good player in Patrick Eaves. You guys seem to forget about that. He was one of our top goal-scorers, maybe one of our best players since the [NHL] Trade Deadline. Reignited our offense.

"You try to [replace him] by committee. One player is not going to replace Patrick Eaves, and we know that. So it gives other people an opportunity to get some minutes they wouldn't normally get. That's the way you treat it.

"You can't change the injuries. You have no effect on it."

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