Right in the midst of an uncertain and murky goalie situation, Antti Niemi was unshaken as he stopped all 26 shots to record his third shutout of the season in a 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins. Niemi was essentially the only guy available as primary backup and sometimes-starter Antero Niittymaki was re-injured while Worcester Sharks starter Alex Stalock went down on Friday night in a 4-3 shootout victory. Stalock had previously came in against the Phoenix Coyotes after Niemi allowed three goals and didn't allow a goal in relief in the Sharks come-from-behind victory. Today, it was Carter Hutton backing up Niemi, and now he'll go back to Worcester to play tonight.
Thankfully, he didn't need to be used as Niemi played stellar in net for San Jose for the shutout, making eight stops in the first period, ten in the second and eight more in the third.
Logan Couture had the game-winner on the power play off of a nice dish from Ryane Clowe in the left wing, something this writer has become used to typing. He beat Tim Thomas with a backhand at 7:22 of the first period. Devin Setoguchi had the insurance goal for the Sharks, if you can call an empty net goal with two seconds left "insurance." Clowe was credited with the assist on the Setoguchi goal, as well.
Thomas, one of the better goalies in the NHL, was given the loss, allowing one goal off of seventeen shots directed his way. The Bruins started to play harder in the third period, and seemed to have something going their way when the Sharks were called on a tripping penalty that appeared to be an obvious dive, but the Sharks responded with one of their best penalty kills of the season, with Joe Thornton and another seeming to play keep-away in Boston's zone for the duration.
With the loss, the Bruins had a three-game winning streak snapped and the Sharks have a three-game winning streak of their own. It's the first time in franchise history that the Sharks have shut out the Bruins, and have now won three-straight in Boston after going winless there (0-7-3) since entering the league in 1991. San Jose has won seven of their last eight and are now clearly in the playoff picture.