It was not the best of outings last time for the San Jose Sharks. Antti Niemi fell apart and the team was clearly lagging after an adrenaline-fueled start aided solely by the atmosphere of being in the Shark Tank. After jumping ahead with two goals in the first period, they allowed two in the second and two in the third, four straight to seal the deal in a 4-2 defeat to the Atlanta Thrashers.
It would appear that Niemi is out while Antero Niittymaki is in net for the Sharks, but that is not official at the time of writing. Coach Todd McLellan would only say that the player starting knew he was starting. Either way, it's too early to advocate or disparage either goaltender, neither has been fantastic while neither have been horrible either.
Both teams are trying to avoid a fourth straight loss, with the HP Pavilion one tough stop on a rough five-game road trip for the Hurricanes, who started the season with two straight wins in Finland. They won't get to perform at home until October 27th. The Sharks, of course, began their season in Europe as well, with a two-game split against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Stockholm, Sweden. Then they went home in their most recent game, the aforementioned loss to the Thrashers.
Dany Heatley and Ryan Clowe had goals for the Sharks against Atlanta, while Joe Thornton (recently extended another three years) had goals in each of the games in Stockholm. Thornton's extension was worth $21MM, and he had an assist against the Thrashers. Antti Niemi stopped 24-of-28 shots in the loss to Atlanta.
San Jose posted a 5-1 road victory over the Hurricanes in the lone meeting between the club's last year and the Sharks have won four of seven overall in the series. Carolina has lost five of its last seven in San Jose and the home team has won seven of the last nine encounters in this series.