Skip to content

Sharks’ Niemi on facing ex-Chicago mates: “It’s a special game”

Feb 5, 2013, 3:58 PM EDT

Antti Niemi Getty Images

There’ll be plenty of storylines at play tonight when the top two teams in the Western Conference — the Blackhawks and Sharks — meet at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.

One of the most predominant storylines? Sharks goalie Antti Niemi playing the team he captured a Stanley Cup with in 2010.

“It’s been a while from last time,” Niemi told the Chicago Tribune about facing the ‘Hawks. “It’s still a bunch of the same guys, so of course, it’s a special game.”

It was only three years ago that Niemi was an unheralded Finnish netminder who backstopped Chicago to its first Cup win since 1961.

He went on to sign with the Sharks just months after hoisting Lord Stanley’s mug and become their undisputed No. 1 netminder.

He’s also faced his former team eight times, though it’s been nearly a year since the last meeting:

Nov. 24, 2010 — 5-2 win, stopped 30 of 32 shots
Dec. 11, 2010 — 2-1 win, stopped 28 of 29 shots
Dec. 30, 2010 — 5-3 win, stopped 26 of 29 shots
Mar. 14, 2011 — 6-3 loss, pulled after allowing 4 goals on 18 shots
Nov. 23, 2011 — 1-0 win, stopped 34 of 34 shots (first shutout vs. CHI)
Dec. 11, 2011 — 3-2 OT loss, stopped 31 of 34 shots
Jan. 15, 2012 — 4-3 loss, stopped 36 of 40 shots
Feb. 10, 2012 — 5-3 win, stopped 30 of 33 shots

As you can see, Niemi’s had a lot of success against his old team — but he also tends to face a lot of rubber in those games.

He’s expecting more of the same tonight, especially given how well Chicago’s played to start the year.

“It’s even more fun when we’re both playing well,” he explained. “It’s a bigger challenge for us, plus we’ve had a couple of days with no games.

“We really, really want to win today.”

Latest Posts
  1. A taste of revenge? Blackhawks deal blow to Kings’ playoff hopes

    Mar 30, 2015, 11:13 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    Chicago ran Los Angeles out of the rink on Monday.

  2. WATCH LIVE: Kings at Blackhawks

    Mar 30, 2015, 8:02 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings Getty Images

    A new wrinkle to the rivalry.

  3. Quick healer: Paquette’s playing for Lightning

    Mar 30, 2015, 7:35 PM EDT

    Cedric Paquette Cedric Paquette

    He shakes off Saturday’s scary crash.

  4. Blackhawks tease good injury news for Kane

    Mar 30, 2015, 7:03 PM EDT

    Patrick Kane AP

    Could he be ahead of schedule?

  5. Get your game notes: Kings at Blackhawks

    Mar 30, 2015, 5:33 PM EDT

    Jarret Stoll, Michal Handzus AP

    L.A.’s first time back in Chicago since Game 7 of last year’s Western Conference Final.

  6. Foley sees ‘advantage’ with no state income tax in Nevada

    Mar 30, 2015, 3:56 PM EDT

    Hockey Vision Las Vegas News Conference To Announce NHL Season Ticket Drive Getty Images

    Could be helpful in attracting and retaining free agents.

  7. Foley: NHL has ‘no objection’ as Vegas begins selling tickets to casinos

    Mar 30, 2015, 3:46 PM EDT

    Las Vegas Getty Images

    The drive began by focusing on individuals for season ticket packages.

  8. Jets could get Little back versus Rangers

    Mar 30, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v Winnipeg Jets Getty Images

    “I think it’s going to come right down to the morning skate.”

  9. Habs preaching intensity, looking to avoid season sweep by Bolts

    Mar 30, 2015, 1:58 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

    “A win tonight would be good for our team, both physically and mentally.”

  10. Report: Ex-NHLer Deveaux has contract terminated after vicious slash

    Mar 30, 2015, 1:24 PM EDT

    Toronto Maple Leafs v Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    Incident occurred prior to a promotion game in the Swedish league.

Featured video

Hammond leads Ottawa's turnaround
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (2141)
  2. H. Lundqvist (2110)
  3. D. Dubnyk (2026)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1953)
  5. A. Hammond (1812)
  1. B. Little (1690)
  2. K. Shattenkirk (1638)
  3. A. Steen (1604)
  4. K. Letang (1572)
  5. D. Hamilton (1570)