At the end of the season, they don’t ask how, they ask how many.
Two points for a win are two points in the standings. You don’t get extra points for style in the NHL. It’s a good thing that’s the case, too, because the Dallas Stars definitely didn’t earn any in their 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.
Dallas had what some players in the post-game interviews called their worst first period played maybe all season. Head coach Jim Montgomery attributed the win solely to the outstanding play of Ben Bishop, who, unlike the rest of his team, was on point from the drop of the puck.
Once again, the Stars needed their powerplay to help give them a boost after going down early in this one, and once again the team failed to capitalize on those chances. It’s great to get even strength scoring, but there are going to be games where the powerplay has to get you that first one, or that tying one, or one in a situation where you can really take hold of the game, and it has to come through.
Luckily, that night was not tonight.
The start to this one was great – if you are a Sharks fan. They came out shooting and Dallas looked flat-footed at times, not ready to take on their offensive push. Almost immediately into the first period, the Sharks rang one off the crossbar that could have easily gone in had it been a quarter of an inch the other direction.
They eventually would score halfway through the period when Evander Kane ended his eight-game goalless streak. As the Stars were outshot 13-5 in the first frame, it was almost a minor miracle that they were down by only one goal as they hit intermission.
Dallas continued to not be able to find a powerplay goal in a wet paper bag, though their first crack at the man advantage did feature some solid puck movement among members of the first unit.
The second powerplay chance was not as good, and again the Stars special teams failed to come through for them when they really needed it. Not only that, but the Sharks nearly scored right after the powerplay chance expired. However, the whistle was blown by the ref before the puck fully crossed the line. It was called a no goal in the arena, and after a review, the call stood and Dallas remained down just one goal.
Unfortunately, Dallas couldn’t really make an offensive punch right after that to try to capitalize on their luck, and the Sharks continued to come at the Stars.
Through the back half of the period, Dallas seemed to get their feet under them. Once they finally got some sustained zone time, they were rewarded when Mattias Janmark caught a 50-foot pass from Roman Polak as he came off the bench at the offensive blue line. He skated in and just fired it right past Jones, tying the game.
That’s how the middle frame would end, leaving it to whomever won the last 20 minutes to walk away with the win. One thing that Dallas did well that period (outside of tying the game) was they continued to have an excellent penalty kill, really limiting the
Dallas took that momentum into the third period and opened the game up offensively. Within six minutes, the Stars had tallied two more goals and the Sharks were the ones looking flatfooted.
Miro Heiskanen started it off after an impressive shift, shooting one through Jones with Radek Faksa acting as a screen in net. He was also on the ice just a few shifts later when Brett Ritchie would put the Stars up 3-1. Almost a half a minute later, Logan Couture would cut the Stars lead to 3-2 after redirecting an Erik Karlsson point shot past Ben Bishop.
The Sharks put on a full offensive assault after that, and Dallas was able to stand tall. They weathered that storm and then made some pushes of their own as the clock wound down in regulation. With the goaltender pulled, Bishop stood on his head and ensured that the offensive breakout at the beginning of the period was enough to secure the win.
The Stars are now 9-0-1 against Pacific Division teams this season, with the lone blemish being the 1-0 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers the first game of Ken Hitchcock’s tenure as bench boss there.