Antti Niemi

Video: Niemi stops back-to-back blasts from Perry

Goaltender Antti Niemi and the San Jose Sharks were down 1-0 after 20 minutes, but it could have been worse. It would have been if Anaheim Ducks sniper Corey Perry had gotten his way.

Late in the first period, Perry had two quick opportunities to fire hard shots at Niemi and was denied both times. You can see the video of that below:

That kept the game from slipping away and made Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle’s early second period marker a game-tying goal.

Perry is tied for fourth in the NHL with 22 goals in 41 contests. Meanwhile, Niemi is going for his fourth straight victory to tie Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury for first place with 22 wins.

This is a key game for both teams as they battle for the Central Division title. Anaheim has a five-point edge over San Jose in that battle, but the Sharks have played in two fewer contests, so a win tonight would put them within striking distance.

Already without Eberle, the Oilers could also be missing Hall tonight

Taylor Hall
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Taylor Hall is sick and reportedly “doubtful” for tonight’s game in Dallas.

Hall did not skate with the Oilers this morning. If he can’t play, Edmonton’s top two lines against the Stars could feature Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot, followed by Connor McDavid centering Lauri Korpikoski and Nail Yakupov.

The Oilers — forced to start the season without top-six winger Jordan Eberle — have scored just once in their first two games, losing 3-1 in St. Louis and 2-0 in Nashville.

Edmonton returns home after tonight’s contest to play St. Louis on Thursday. Then it’s back out on the road for games against Calgary and Vancouver.

Sabres waive d-man Donovan

HKN Sabres Senators
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Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.

The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.

The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.