Apr 30, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT
The San Jose Sharks have taken a page out of the Vancouver Canucks’ goaltending playbook.
(The playoff edition, not the one on how to handle having two No. 1s. That one was terrible.)
In a move eerily similar to Vancouver’s three years ago, the Sharks will give Antti Niemi the start tonight, at home, in Game 7, after he was parked for Game 6 and watched the opposition rally from an 0-3 deficit to even the series at three.
Niemi getting start, Thornton says.
— David Pollak (@PollakOnSharks) April 30, 2014
Thornton reveals Niemi is starting
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzCSN) April 30, 2014
Niemi, held out of Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Kings in favor of Alex Stalock, will now return to the goal much like Roberto Luongo did in the opening round of the ’11 playoffs. Like the current-day Sharks, those Canucks raced out to a 3-0 series lead on Chicago, only to lose three straight — with Luongo getting benched in favor of Cory Schneider in Game 6.
If there’s a bright spot in the narrative for San Jose, it’s this: Luongo stopped 31 of 32 shots in Game 7 as the Canucks beat the ‘Hawks in OT.
The Sharks will need Niemi to put up a similar performance tonight if they hope to avoid the biggest postseason collapse in franchise history. Only three teams in NHL history have rallied from an 0-3 deficit to win the series — the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1975 New York Islanders and the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers — and based on how the L.A. offense has been clicking lately, the Kings carry all the momentum into tonight.
Los Angeles has scored 13 goals in the last three games and caught fire on the power play, scoring five times with the man advantage in the last four games. That offensive explosion is a big reason why Niemi goes into Game 7 with very mediocre numbers — a 3.90 GAA and .882 save percentage.
The only goalie with weaker numbers these playoffs? Tampa Bay’s Anders Lindback, who was yanked twice in a four-game sweep against Montreal.
May 4, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Game 3 between the Rangers and Capitals is the lone game on the schedule.
May 4, 2015, 8:05 AM EDT
Monday’s collection of links.
May 4, 2015, 1:04 AM EDT
The last team to open the playoffs with at least six straight wins was Pittsburgh in 2008.
May 4, 2015, 12:18 AM EDT
He’ll be looking for the Wild to do better mentally at home.
May 3, 2015, 11:42 PM EDT
There are three contests scheduled for Sunday.
May 3, 2015, 11:36 PM EDT
He seemed initially dazed, but stayed in the game.
May 3, 2015, 11:17 PM EDT
Chicago now has a 2-0 series lead.
May 3, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT
Devan Dubnyk had some bad luck on this one.
May 3, 2015, 9:58 PM EDT
“He tries to play God. He tries to control the game and he did that tonight.”
May 3, 2015, 9:14 PM EDT
Prust and Bishop have a history.
May 3, 2015, 8:52 PM EDT
The series will now return to Tampa Bay where the Lightning were 32-8-1 in the regular season.
May 3, 2015, 8:19 PM EDT
This might lead to Jonathan Drouin playing in Game 3.
May 3, 2015, 7:38 PM EDT
How far can the Lightning go if he gets hot?
May 3, 2015, 7:14 PM EDT
Valtteri Filppula snuck one by Carey Price.
May 3, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT
At one point 14 squads were believed to be interested in his services.
May 3, 2015, 6:19 PM EDT
It’s the first time he’s out of the lineup since the start of the 2014-15 campaign.
May 3, 2015, 5:46 PM EDT
Exactly when that will be remains to be seen.
May 3, 2015, 4:55 PM EDT
It’s rarely easy for young stars.
May 3, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT
He’s working nicely with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
May 3, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
Both were at least some risk of missing Game 2.
- Andersen shuts out Flames as Ducks stay perfect in playoffs 2
- WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action 7
- Wild can’t contain ‘Hawks star forwards in Game 2 25
- Stamkos, power play comes alive as Lightning take 2-0 series lead vs. Habs 29
- Video: Stamkos ends goal drought in style 9
- Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight 9
- Rangers hang on, even series with Caps 55
- Video: Ovechkin splits ‘D’, scores while falling 32
- Flames’ Gaudreau wasn’t happy with benching in Game 1 2
- Video: Blackhawks hold off Wild to take series lead 23
- Niklas Kronwall suspended for Game 7 vs. Tampa Bay (116)
- Vigneault: ‘Standards have been set’ after Ovechkin, Backstrom hits (103)
- Friedman: Penguins need to ‘think about’ trading Malkin (89)
- Report: Developers file intent to build arena in Seattle suburb (81)
- Lightning’s Bishop silences Red Wings in hard fought Game 7 (81)