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Sharks vs. Blues: Antti Niemi Comes Up Big Under The Bright Lights

Most professional athletes, whether it be with or without cause, are judged by their performances in the playoffs. Not only are the lights brightest in an elimination setting, but that's also when fans from all over the country -- and not just a local following of supporters -- are watching. For young Sharks goalie Antti Niemi, he has already come up big time and again for San Jose.

The folks over at CSN Bay Area have the latest update:

For his career, Niemi is 8-2 in playoff overtime games, including wins in six of his last seven. That includes Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on June 9, 2010, when he helped clinch the championship for Chicago over Philadelphia.

Niemi was 4-1 in overtime with the Sharks during their run to the Western Conference Final last season, with the only loss coming on Kevin Bieksa's freak goal in Vancouver on May 24.

"Obviously, it feels better winning in the overtime. It's a tough spot; you don't want to make mistakes. It's hard, but I've been able to make saves," he said. "But, you don't want to worry about it too much or think about it too much. You've got to be ready and alert."

Niemi is going to have to continue his stellar play if the Sharks hope to pull the upset over the Blues, but given his track record and effort in Game One of the series, you have to feel good about San Jose's chances moving forward.

The second game of the Western Conference quarterfinals is set for Saturday evening from St. Louis.

For more on the Sharks, check out Fear The Fin.