The San Jose Sharks are designed to drive you crazy.
Their up-tempo style is unique in that it is directed by two of the most talented offensive defensemen in the NHL. It’s also accompanied by a speedy, skilled group of forwards.
And much like the last time these two teams met in Dallas, the road team attempted to muddle, disjoint and otherwise disorient Jim Montgomery’s aggressive, yet disciplined philosophy.
And once again, the home team’s unwillingness to break led to a 3-2 victory at American Airlines Center.
Although, there was a fair bit of bending during the Stars’ fourth consecutive W.
Entering the contest, the teams had the same amount of points (33) and each occupied third place in their respective divisions. Although, the Sharks had played one more game.
Prior to this game the Stars had won three games in a row, while the Sharks were carrying a two-game winning streak.
Early on, though, the latter squad was dominant, outshooting the home side 13 to 5 in the first period.
But Montgomery’s system, while aggressive, requires discipline. And there’s a well-defined method to the madness, one that his team, for the most part, stuck to.
It also helps that both Dallas netminders have been rock solid for much of the year. Bishop was terrific on Friday night, stopping 40 of 42 shots .
The Sharks’ attack, which is really led and dictated by Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns, has no such governors. Karlsson did notch two assists.
Dallas eventually woke up in the latter half of the second period and was able to put offensive pressure on Martin Jones, a goalie who is off to a subpar start.
The season is long, which means that players and coaches are loathe to label any one game a “statement win.”
Yet, if the Stars can consistently maintain a strong commitment to their brand of hockey, even in the face of obstacles such as San Jose, it bodes well for the rest of this season and beyond.
The Sharks got off to an up-and-down start, but they are still a contender to finish first in a scattered Pacific Division.
At practice in Frisco on Thursday, Montgomery said he expected a good effort from his club after they finally got a few days of rest following another hard road trip. He also said that the team was finding ways to win these close games.
He was half-right about the first point.
And spot on with the second.