Another game with the Stars, another clear cut example of one simple fact: These teams absolutely detest one another. Like the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s, or the Montague’s and the Capulet’s or even Mrs PacMan and those little blue guys, it’s WAR! For the second straight outing the Sharks got a significant contribution from their 3rd and 4th lines and beat the Stars handily, 4-1. They also stood up to a physical challenge by Dallas with 3 nice fights and some True Grit.(Dallas, Grit, Western, Cowboys, Feel it?) This team is using a winning combination of pure skill and a chippy demeanor.
In addition to the fact the Sharks and Stars won’t be exchanging Christmas fruit baskets, the other thing I took away from this game: Antii Niemi seems to be settling into a very nice groove. All night he frustrated the Dallas shooters by his aggressive positioning, challenging every shot that came his way. If Niemi would have his way, he would play every night. I’m sure McLellan understands the more Nemo plays, the sharper his cho(m)ps will be. That is why I was surprised to hear Thomas Greiss would start in net @ Colorado.
The leaders are playing great. Marleau and Thornton each had 2 assists last night and played solid all night. The key will be to keep putting together these types of full, 60 minute outings. They get up for games against the Red Wings and the Stars, lets see if they can bring that same intensity to a game in Colorado in their 3rd game in 4 nights.That is what “consistent” teams do is play a specific game, regardless of the opponent or situation.
Props to a couple of guys: Jaime McGinn has been scoring and playing physical. Keep it up and he can be that 3rd line winger the Sharks desperately covet. He had a goal and a nice fight vs Dallas last night. Brent Burns: after bottoming out on the homestand against Phoenix, he has picked up his game tremendously in the past two contests. He has been physical, responsible in his end and used his big shot effectively on a powerplay goal last night.
Sharks are feeling good after sending the Dallas Stars to their 5th straight loss. Now lets see if they can keep it up tonight in Colorado. The Sharks are widely recognized as one of the top two or three teams in the league. Now lets see if they can become one of the most consistent.