The Cody Eakin line didn’t score in Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh, but it played a big role in the Stars’ 3-0 victory. It was the Eakin line that got the tough assignment of matching up with Pittsburgh’s top line, and it was advantage Eakin.
Eakin and linemates Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt did a nice job of keeping Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz pretty quiet in the game.
Crosby, the league’s top scorer, had four shots in the game, two on the power play. Kunitz came into the game ranked sixth in the league in scoring. He ended up with one shot and that was on the power play. The Penguins used a variety of forwards at right wing on that line.
“It was a challenge for us and my wingers are so reliable and smart in the defensive zone, I think we did a heck of a job,” said Eakin.
Eakin won 11 of 21 faceoffs in the game, including 9 of 13 in the first two periods. He had four shots on goal and a game-high nine shots directed towards the net. He also logged big minutes on both sides of the special teams, a key area in the Stars’ victory.
“I thought he played fabulous,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of Eakin. “Through two periods he was great on the draw, and if you can start with the puck it’s even a better place to be. I thought his skating was good, he could have had a couple of goals. That line did a real nice job against Sid and his linemates.”
“I thought almost from the first moment he came into the league this guy is special. He had those characteristics where his attitude was contagious, his work ethic was contagious. Obviously, he’s a competitor and a star player in the league now. You could tell that from his first couple months in the league that he had that capability. No surprise.”
Penguins defenseman and former Star Matt Niskanen on Jamie Benn being named Dallas captain this season
*The Stars have outscored their opponents 14-1 during their three-game winning streak.
*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen has shutouts in two of the last three games and has stopped 66 of 67 shots during that stretch.
*Lehtonen picked up an assist in the game, his fourth of the season. Lehtonen has assists in consecutive games.
*The Stars were 2-3 on the power play Saturday. They have scored on the power play in seven straight games and are 9-24 (37.5 percent) during that stretch.
*The Stars were 4-4 on the penalty kill and are now 15-15 over the last five games.
*The Stars outshot the Penguins 28-24. Cody Eakin and Valeri Nichushkin led the Stars with four shots each.
*The Stars won 34 of 63 (54 percent) of faceoffs. Rich Peverley won 8 of 10. Cody Eakin won 11 of 21. Jamie Benn won 4 of 6. Vernon Fiddler won 3 of 13.
*Saturday’s attendance was 18,532, a sellout.
*The Stars assigned forward Dustin Jeffrey to the Texas Stars (AHL) on Saturday.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Erik Cole – Vernon Fiddler –Ray Whitney
Rich Peverley – Shawn Horcoff – Alex Chiasson
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn- Brenden Dillon
Aaron Rome – Sergei Gonchar
Scratched: Kevin Connauton
Injured: Stephane Robidas (leg)
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.