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game recap

Niemi notches third shutout as Hawks roll

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Brian Hunter - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Niemi notches third shutout as Hawks roll
Tampa Bay Lightning 0, Chicago Blackhawks 4
Antti Niemi is making the most of his limited opportunities this season.

The Chicago Blackhawks rookie goaltender stopped all 18 shots he faced Sunday night for his third shutout of the season in only his eighth start. Marian Hossa picked up a goal and an assist as the Hawks started a five-game homestand with a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

''You don't want to feel too confident, but I feel pretty good,'' said Niemi, who started for only the third time since Nov. 7. ''I've never played so many shutouts. I've had good stretches, but not like this.

''We had it pretty easy today. It was not too hard for me.''

Patrick Kane, Ben Eager and Jonathan Toews also scored, though Kane left with 6:59 remaining in the first period after landing hard along the boards on a hit by Matt Smaby of the Lightning. Kane did not return due to a cut above the eye.

''It's not bad,'' Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said, ''They had to stitch it up.''

Antero Niittymaki got the start for the Lightning, who lost their fourth straight. He stopped 25 shots, but received no offensive support. Tampa has just 13 goals while going 1-6-2 in its last nine games.

''When you're losing, you've just got to keep believing in the locker room you can win,'' Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. ''When there's pressure, it just seem like we cave in certain situations.''

Among Niemi's best stops was a pair of in-close chances by James Wright early in the second period. His shutout remained intact as Steven Stamkos hit the post eight minutes into the third.

''It's been a nice 1-2 punch,'' Quenneville said about the duo of Niemi and Cristobal Huet. ''Niemi's solid. You see his size and his presence in the net. He challenges and his rebound control is in order.

''The last two starts he might have been overworked. Tonight he did what he had to do. He keeps himself ready whether he's out for two weeks or out for a week.''

Before getting hurt, Kane opened the scoring 7:42 into the first with a high wrist shot from the right point that deflected in off the left post.

Eager and Hossa extended the lead to 3-0 by the end of the second. Eager was left uncovered in front and converted a Hossa feed from the edge of the crease at the 10:42 mark. Tampa defensemen Matt Walker and Victor Hedman both committed to Hossa, who sent a pass out from the right corner.

Hossa scored with 15.3 seconds left in the period, skating through the left circle and deflecting Patrick Sharp's centering pass out of the air before dropping it to the ice and sending it past Niittymaki.

Toews capped the scoring by chipping in the rebound of a Dustin Byfuglien shot 6:01 into the third.

Material from wire services was used in this report.


scoring summary
1st Period
07:42
CHI
Patrick Kane (10) ASST: Duncan Keith (20)
1 - 0 CHI
2nd Period
10:42
CHI
Ben Eager (2) ASST: Marian Hossa (5), Brent Sopel (4)
2 - 0 CHI
19:44
CHI
Marian Hossa (4) ASST: Patrick Sharp (15), Brent Seabrook (11)
3 - 0 CHI
3rd Period
06:01
CHI
Jonathan Toews (9) ASST: Dustin Byfuglien (3), Brent Seabrook (12)
4 - 0 CHI
penalty summary
1st Period
02:25
CHI
Cam Barker  Interference against  Stephane Veilleux
10:54
TBL
Victor Hedman  Holding against  Marian Hossa
11:44
TBL
Mattias Ohlund  Hooking against  Dustin Byfuglien
13:01
TBL
Matt Smaby  Tripping against  Patrick Kane
2nd Period
01:17
CHI
Patrick Sharp  Tripping against  Vincent Lecavalier
05:52
CHI
Dustin Byfuglien  Slashing against  Jeff Halpern
07:34
CHI
Duncan Keith  Delaying Game - Puck over glass
15:10
TBL
Zenon Konopka  Fighting against  Ben Eager
15:10
CHI
Ben Eager  Fighting against  Zenon Konopka
17:01
CHI
Jonathan Toews  Tripping against  Martin St. Louis
19:17
CHI
Jonathan Toews  Roughing against  Mattias Ohlund
19:17
TBL
Mattias Ohlund  Roughing against  Jonathan Toews
3rd Period
09:36
TBL
Steve Downie  Slashing against  Niklas Hjalmarsson
16:15
TBL
Matt Smaby  Hooking against  Jonathan Toews
18:39
TBL
Todd Fedoruk  Interference - Goalkeeper against  Antti Niemi
18:39
TBL
Todd Fedoruk  Misconduct
19:19
TBL
Victor Hedman  Elbowing against  Andrew Ladd
goalie stats
Antero Niittymaki
SA: 29TOI: 60:00
Saves: 25EV: 15 - 19
PIM: 0PP: 9 - 9
SV%: .862SH: 1 - 1
Antti Niemi
SA: 18TOI: 59:49
Saves: 18EV: 10 - 10
PIM: 0PP: 8 - 8
SV%: 1.000SH: 0 - 0