Skip to content

Antti Up: Sharks go back to Niemi for Game 7

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, 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.

Latest Posts
  1. On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’

    May 27, 2015, 12:39 PM EDT

    Rangers forward has had issues with it thus far.

  2. Report: Sharks to name DeBoer head coach

    May 27, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT

    Peter DeBoer Getty Images

    Former Panthers and Devils coach will take over a team that missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

  3. Miller’s ‘attitude has been outstanding,’ says Brassard

    May 27, 2015, 12:13 PM EDT

    J.T. Miller, Derick Brassard AP

    Remember when AV called the youngster out?

  4. Ward’s agent makes it (very) clear that Washington is his first choice

    May 27, 2015, 11:20 AM EDT

    New York Rangers v Washington Capitals - Game Six Getty Images

    “Our door is open for the Capitals, absolutely first and foremost.”

  5. ‘Very quiet’ on Derek Roy-Edmonton front, says agent

    May 27, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Veteran center enjoyed something of a career revival with the Oilers last season.

  6. Blackhawks’ Teravainen: ‘I’m living my dream’

    May 27, 2015, 10:33 AM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks - Game Five Getty Images

    Chicago fans are hoping that dream includes a Game 6 win.

  7. So much for Rick Nash’s slump

    May 27, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT

    150527-Rick-Nash Getty Images

    Give some credit to his linemates, including “energizer bunny” J.T. Miller.

  8. Video: Lundqvist helps lead Rangers back to New York for Game 7

    May 27, 2015, 12:59 AM EDT

    Henrik Lundqvist Getty Images

    Almost completely shut the door through two periods.

  9. TVR time? Quenneville hints at changes on defense for Game 6

    May 26, 2015, 10:29 PM EDT

    Getty Images

    Timonen is averaging under 10 minutes of ice time per game in playoffs.

  10. Video: Lundqvist stones Stamkos with left-pad save

    May 26, 2015, 9:16 PM EDT

    Getty Images

    New York scored to make it 2-0 soon after that.

  11. Video: Brassard opens scoring for Rangers in Game 6

    May 26, 2015, 8:52 PM EDT

    AP

    New York needs the win to force Game 7.

  12. No NHL-first offer has been made for Seattle arena, says Hansen

    May 26, 2015, 8:13 PM EDT

    Chris Hansen AP

    “We’ve had a lot of informal discussions with people about this, but us or the city have yet to be presented with any kind of offer.”

  13. Holland to meet with Blashill this week, hasn’t expanded candidate list

    May 26, 2015, 6:29 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    “I’ve had some people reach out to me,” the Red Wings GM said.

Featured video

End of an era coming for Blackhawks?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. M. Zuccarello (3566)
  2. H. Lundqvist (2376)
  3. S. Stamkos (2075)
  4. B. Bishop (1645)
  5. R. Nash (1561)
  1. M. Carle (1552)
  2. M. Babcock (1478)
  3. M. Beleskey (1437)
  4. K. Yandle (1318)
  5. N. Horton (1304)