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Eakin Likely to Play Tonight

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

It looks like there is a good chance center Cody Eakin will play tonight when the Stars take on the Jets in Winnipeg.

“We’ve got an extra guy going in warm up, but it looks good right now,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said when asked about Eakin’s status. “We’ll see how he made out in the skate, but I would anticipate it, yeah.”

Eakin missed Friday’s game against Calgary after getting hit in the foot with a puck in Tuesdays’ game in St. Louis.

Other than Eakin possibly slotting, the Stars lineup should look pretty much like the last game. Tim Thomas will get his third straight start in goal for the Stars.

Sunday’s game is big for both teams. The Stars are in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both they and ninth-place Phoenix have 75 points, but the Stars have two games in hand and this is a chance for the Stars to make the most of one of those extra games.

The Jets, who are winless in their last six games (0-3-3) are six points behind the Stars and have played two fewer games than Dallas.

“It seems like every game is desperation time for us, for them,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We realize as a team where they are at, they look at the game as do or die and a chance for them to move up against a team that is in a playoff spot.”

And Jets coach Paul Maurice wants his team to feel like tonight’s game is do or die.

“The really smart guys take all the pressure off their team, but I think we want to feel the pressure,” said Maurice. “I want our team to feel like this is a huge game and deal with all the emotions that go with that, that nervous energy, because it is part of that process they have to go through. They know it’s a big game … and we’re going to talk about how we handle these big games.”

Al Montoya will start in goal for the Jets.

Sunday’s game

Who: Dallas Stars at Winnipeg Jets
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg
When: 7 p.m.
TV: TXA-21
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Erik ColeCody Eakin/Travis MorinColton Sceviour
Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt
Ray WhitneyChris MuellerAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennBrenden Dillon
Kevin Connauton
Sergei Gonchar

Tim Thomas
Cristopher Nilstorp

Jets projected lineup

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik
Evander Kane - Eric O'Dell - Devin Setoguchi
Blake Wheeler - Olli Jokinen - Dustin Byfuglien
Eric Tangradi - Patrice Cormier - Anthony Peluso

Zach Bogosian - Tobias Enstrom
Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba
Adam Pardy - Keaton Ellerby

Al Montoya
Michael Hutchinson

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 reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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