Antti Niemi

Gauging Antti Niemi’s value

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Antti Niemi isn’t exactly a well-regarded netminder in many quarters, Stanley Cup ring or not.

Has he been up to snuff as the San Jose Sharks’ starter, though? Let’s take a look.

Individual stats

After wrestling away the starting job during that Cup-winning season with Chicago in 2009-10, Niemi’s carried the mail in San Jose (aside from a slight tussle in 2010-11 with Antero Niittymaki in 2010-11).

2010-11: 60 games played, 35-18-6 record, .920 save percentage, 2.38 GAA and six shutouts.
2011-12: 68 GP, 34-22-9, .915 save percentage, 2.42 GAA and six shutouts.

His playoff numbers are mostly comparable, aside from an ugly first campaign with San Jose in 2011.

Compared to others

How do those numbers stack up to the rest of the league’s franchise guys, though? Habs Eyes on the Prize provided an interesting look at what one should expect from goalies and ranked Niemi’s 2011-12 in 11th place. Seems about right for what San Jose would want … perhaps.

Area of concern

The Sharks sported the league’s second worst PK unit last season and much can be traced to Niemi’s worrisome .838 save percentage shorthanded (down from .875 in 2010-11). In his defense, backup Thomas Greiss was a tough worse, though.

***

Overall, Niemi’s produced solid-if-unspectacular work in San Jose. The Sharks needs more than “solid” to truly contend, however.

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Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.

Video: Beagle’s perfect shot dogs Murray for early Caps lead

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Matt Murray was just on another level in Game 3, giving the impression that the Washington Capitals would only beat him with perfect shots.

Jay Beagle got that memo … and maybe added a little element of surprise on top of that.

As you can see from the video above, Beagle beat Murray from an unexpected angle with a pretty resounding goal. It was one of those “Wait, did that just happen?”-type moments.

The Capitals saw their lead go away moments before this post was completed, so it’s now 1-1.