Sharks’ Niemi pulled in second straight game

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San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan has pulled goalie Antti Niemi for a second consecutive game.

The L.A. Kings, facing elimination again in Game 5 of this first-round series, built up a 3-0 lead over the Sharks in the second period of Saturday’s game, with Jeff Carter’s goal 22 seconds into the middle frame ending Niemi’s night. He allowed three goals on 19 shots faced.

Making matters worse for the Sharks is the absence of defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who appeared to be injured when he took a jab to the back of the head from Kings’ forward Jarret Stoll in the first period.

Vlasic has yet to return to the game.