The American Airlines Center filled up Saturday afternoon with every variety of character you could hope to see at a Halloween party. A man dressed as a sexy Little Red Riding hood? Yeah. A Darth Vader and Princess Leia couples costume? OK. Harry and Lloyd? Well, of course.
The Dallas Stars included a few costume changes as the host today. A dominant five-on-five team. A penalty kill that was so good it was scoring shorthanded. A penalty kill that was so poor that it let a Sharks team that was 0-for-16 coming in to today score twice in the second period. A top-five power play in the league. A power play that saw San Jose get a shortie of their own.
It was dramatic, and it was difficult, but like Tuesday and Thursday, they left dressed in their most exciting garb - the best team right now in the best division in hockey.
After comeback efforts were required early in the homestand it was encouraging for Stars fans to see their heroes jump out to a 2-0 lead through the middle of the second period. A safe, uneventful finish looked like a possibility - but alas, the Dallas Stars are a high event team.
Patrick Sharp scored his fourth in three games and Antoine Roussel appeared to score a beauty of a shorthanded goal off a nice feed from Vern Fiddler, later changed to Jason Demers, who tipped it.
And then things got hairy.
Joe Pavelski pulled the Sharks to within one with a nice tip of Burns' point shot, and then the Stars surrendered a shorthanded breakaway for Nieto that he smartly placed just under Niemi's blocker to knot things at two.
Vern Fiddler would re-gain the lead when the Sharks watched him walk out in front from behind the net and place a wrister cookie jar on Stalock, who made himself look very small, but the special teams bonanza would continue when Joel Ward tied it at three after Radek Faksa was whistled for playing hockey against Joe Thornton.
Both teams seem to settle in the third, playing a more cautious game after the second-period fireworks and the quality chances settled a bit, thanks in no small part to the parade to the penalty box mercifully ceasing.
Finally, in a scene similar to the game winner against the Ducks late in the third, a John Klingberg point bid to just get the puck to the net eventually found Antoine Roussel's skate and then trickled across the goal line while players on either side tried to get sticks on it.
The San Jose Sharks would then put a bow on their timeout and deliver it to the scorer's table after challenging whether or not the play was onside. It was.
A fitting game winner for the Stars, as the Fiddler/Roussel combination was easily the best line of the night.
Two late penalties helped the Stars salt this one away and Tyler Seguin's empty-netter sent the holiday crowd into a frenzy. 9-2-0. 18 points in October.
18 points in October.
The Stars continue to find a variety of different ways to win games despite shaky moments. The goaltending has been as they needed it to be last season. The offense has been dynamic as expected. The defensive play has been scrambly, but has stiffened in third periods.
Scoring almost four goals per game doesn't hurt either.
We'll have more on this one later as the Stars prepare for another four-game Eastern road swing. I have to go trick or treat now.
Enjoy the holiday and be safe. The Stars need you healthy to witness this special start to the season.