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.
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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It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.
Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.
(You can see that goal in the video above.)
Watch that three-goal burst in this video:
The two teams weren’t done then. Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 while Pavel Datsyuk scored his 900th point to make it 3-2.
Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.
When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.
Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.
It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.
This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.
That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.
Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP
So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.
The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.
The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.
It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.
You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.
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As cool as it was at the time for many, Patrice Bergeron‘s fight against Blake Wheeler is … honestly, a good reminder why players like Bergeron rarely drop the gloves.
Multiple outlets including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty report that Bergeron will miss Sunday afternoon’s game against the Detroit Red Wings (which you can watch on NBC).
We don’t know a ton about the injury aside from the fact that the multiple Selke-winner is considered day-to-day.
People don’t seem overly concerned about this issue, but you have to wonder if Bergeron made a bad choice, especially considering his history of concussion issues.
You can watch the bout that may or may not have left him injured in the video above.