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Dallas Stars Morning Skate: Patrick Eaves a Game-Time Decision as Stars Try to Stay Alive

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The Stars were loose at morning skate in St. Louis and may get one of their more effective net-front players back as Eaves has a shot at being in the lineup.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars have been a team that rolls with the punches without getting too high or low all season, and facing eliminate for the first time in the 2016 NHL playoffs, things are no different.

Lindy Ruff called his team's morning skate "loose" with some players humming musical accompaniment as they prepared for Game 6 against the St. Louis Blues. With a relatively young core, that's exactly the right attitude the Stars need to be taking, he said.

"As I've said, it's about being relaxed and about being able to play," Ruff said at the media availability. "You can crunch all the numbers you want to crunch from the previous game, and I would take that game again tonight and give us those same opportunities. Every play in that game I would do it again and give us a second chance at it, and I think we'd have a different result. Or at least, the chance at a different result."

Delving further into how his team played in Game 5, the only thing Ruff wanted was his team to take a few more shot attempts.

"I thought we skated well and moved the puck well," Ruff said. "Our possession time was real good. Maybe a few more shot attempts from some tougher angles where we kind of let them off the hook."

The Stars may get a little bit of aid from the return of Patrick Eaves, though as with everything in the playoffs, no one will actually confirm that move until they absolutely have to.

Eaves, who left Game 1 with a lower-body injury from a friendly fire shot, took the full morning skate and is officially a game-time decision. The players who skated late (and are thus likely scratches) were Curtis McKenzie, Jordie Benn, Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth, which means the Stars could potentially go 13 forwards in warm ups again.

Of the candidates to come out for Eaves, should he be ready, the most likely ones are Brett Ritchie, Travis Moen and Valeri Nichushkin (who has gotten better since getting back into the lineup).

Here is Mike Heika's best guess on the lines the Stars ran:

Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp

Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Valeri Nichushkin

Antoine Roussel/Brett Ritchie - Radek Faksa - Ales Hemsky

Colton Sceviour - Vernon Fiddler - Travis Moen

The defensive pairs remained the same, with Alex Goligoski alongside John Klingberg, Stephen Johns next to Johnny Oduya and Kris Russell with Jason Demers.

As far as goalies go, Kari Lehtonen was the first one off the ice for Dallas. He played extremely well in Game 4, the last time the teams met in St. Louis.