4 Keys to the San Jose Sharks Victory over the Dallas Stars

Michael ChristieContributor INovember 20, 2011

4 Keys to the San Jose Sharks Victory over the Dallas Stars

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    The San Jose Sharks opened their two game road trip against division rival Dallas Stars. After splitting the season series 3-3 last year, this is the first meeting between the two teams this season.

    The Sharks are coming off an impressive 5-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings while the Stars have been shutout in their previous two games against the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche.

    The Sharks dominated the game, winning 4-1. Here are the four keys to victory for San Jose on Saturday.

Great Play from the Fourth Line

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    This was the second game in a row that the Sharks fourth line played outstanding. Usually not scoring much, they have put together consecutive games with goals, with Brad Winchester scoring his second of the game in the second period.

    All night the line created chances and kept the puck deep, eating minutes to help keep the rest of the team fresh.

Great Goaltending

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    For the second game in a row Antti Niemi played stellar, giving the Sharks a great chance to win. He made 30 saves out of 31 chances and he is finally looking like the dominant Niemi from last season. It looks like he has found his groove, which is great news for the Sharks.

    While the Stars were on a power play in the first period, he shined and held the Stars without scoring. If he keeps this play up, it will be a challenge for any team in the NHL to beat the Sharks.

Minimal Time in Their Zone

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    It is always hard to win if you are constantly in your own zone and that was a big problem for the Stars. The Sharks did a great job of putting pressure on the Stars by keeping the puck deep in their zone.

    In the last minute of the second period the Sharks controlled the puck in the Stars zone, completely dominating play as the period came to an end.

    Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.

Low Percentage Shots for the Stars

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    The Sharks did a great job of not giving the Stars a lot of good scoring chances. The shots they gave up were low percentage shots, most coming from far out. The defense helped Niemi by keeping the front of the net clear so he could see the shots coming.

    The only goal they gave up was a nice play by Mike Ribeiro coming into the zone and sneaking it past Niemi’s glove hand and leg. It was not a high percentage shot, just nicely placed.