TORONTO | Cody Eakin seems a long way from a couple third periods spent on the bench. Now he’s getting to play with Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer to at least start the Capitals’ game Saturday night.
At the Toronto Maple Leafs. On “Hockey Night In Canada.”
“Yeah, it’s exciting,” Eakin said. “For how many times I’ve watched this game on TV and watched all the things that go with it, to be here, it’s going to be fun.”
Eakin said “I guess you could look at it like” a promotion for strong play of late. Bruce Boudreau said it was something of a reward for Eakin.
“He has played well; he’s been one of our better players,” the coach said. “That’s unfortunate when a 20-year-old has been one of your better players the last couple games.”
Eakin did finish Thursday’s game with Backstrom and Brouwer and looked to be one of the Caps’ best players all night.
“I was working hard – trying to keep my feet moving and keep it simple,” Eakin said. “I had a few chances.”
He might have a few more chances Saturday night. He’ll be playing the left wing alongside Backstrom and Brouwer, but that adjustment isn’t a hard one for Eakin.
“Over these games, I haven’t played too much wing,” he said. “But now as the games wore on, I start to get familiar with it and positions on the ice. I’m a little bit better.”
Eakin’s new linemates were very complimentary of his game of late.
“He’s a good, young player with a lot of energy and a lot to prove right now. He’s playing some good hockey,” Brouwer said. “His minutes may have been down a little bit in the last few games, but you’re always looking at the older guys to help you through tough times, but [he gets] a good opportunity tonight, and hopefully he’ll stick.”
Added Backstrom: “He’s a great player. I think he’s skilled. I mean, he can score and pass the puck. He’s pretty all-around player, I think. Getting a chance to play with him right now, it feels great. And hopefully we can do something good about that.”