After a tough postseason, Antti Niemi entered the 2014-15 campaign in an open competition with Alex Stalock for the job of San Jose’s starting goalie.
So far, the 31-year-old veteran is winning that contest.
“We wanted to create competition with as many different positions on the team and within the team, and Nemo has competed hard,” coach Todd McLellan said, per the Mercury News. “Al has competed hard too, but I think Nemo’s got the edge right now.”
Niemi will start tonight’s home game against Vancouver, and enters it with a 6-2-1 record and .923 save percentage.
Stalock has been good overall as well (.924 SV% in four starts), but has lost two straight.
McLellan said prior to the season that “if somebody gets hot, we’ll run that hot goaltender for a little while.”
Well, Niemi has had four straight starts with a save percentage of .935 or better. Which probably qualifies as “hot.”
“I think he’s been stronger and more confident mentally and physically than he was last year, for whatever reason,” said McLellan, per CSN Bay Area.
“It’s showing in his game.”