After days of silence as to who’d be his starting goalie, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan did the expected on Thursday and announced Antti Niemi would be in net for Game 1 of San Jose’s opening around series against the Kings.
“He’s our go-to guy. Simple as that,” McLellan said, per the Mercury News. “He has been our go-to guy for four years, he’s our go-to guy in Game 1.
“I can tell you this, there wasn’t near the amount of debate with the four of us in the coaches’ room as there was with a whole bunch of you outside the coaches’ room. But it was fun.”
There had been some question as to which goalie — Niemi or Alex Stalock — would get the nod against L.A. Part of it had to do with McLellan playing coy with the media, but part of it also had to do with the fact Niemi’s been erratic this season while Stalock emerged as a quality No. 2.
There was also the fact that both goalies fared well against L.A. this year. Niemi played more, going 2-1-1 with a 2.67 GAA and .910 save percentage, but Stalock was really impressive in his lone outing, stopping 20 of 21 shots while being named second star in a 1-0 loss.
Of course, there is the experience factor. Niemi’s started every playoff game for San Jose over the last three seasons and has 56 games of playoff experience on his resume.
Stalock, meanwhile, has never played in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Marner’s brilliant passing powers uplifting night for Leafs
Devan Dubnyk already showed signs of having a hot start to 2016-17, but Thursday made that point abundantly clear.
For the second straight game, Dubnyk generated a shutout, with the Minnesota Wild beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 in this instance.
It’s not as if Dubnyk is just leisurely turning aside the occasional chance, either; he made 38 saves to blank Buffalo and needed to stop 65 shots on goal considering the 27 he turned aside in a 5-0 win vs. Boston.
There are plenty of differences between Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, including obvious things like one being from Russia and the other from Finland.
Still, there are moments when Laine inspires comparisons to his idol, even this early in his rookie season.
Thursday presented one of those moments. It wasn’t just that Laine fired a 3-0 goal home for the Winnipeg Jets against the Dallas Stars with such moxie; it was also that he showed some swagger with a celebration afterward.
This GIF captures the moment brilliantly, while you can also watch the goal in video form.
Early this season, Dmitry Orlov delighted onlookers and angered Matt Duchene with a mind-blowing, throwback hip check. People really seemed to enjoy it.
While you’d struggle to top that hit, Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier must have sensed the void in checks that almost seem to flip opponents, doing so against Anthony Duclair during Thursday’s contest.
Rate this as you will:
Want another look at the Orlov one for comparison’s sake or to chuckle in disbelief? Why not: