SAN JOSE - Less than 24 hours after shutting out the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi will make his 11th straight start Thursday night when the Sharks face the Detroit Red Wings at HP Pavilion.
Niemi loves a heavy workload, and he said he has no problem playing back-to-back games.
"Especially when the first game goes pretty good, it's pretty easy to go in the second game," Niemi said Thursday morning after the Sharks' optional skate and brief team meeting. "Just keep on doing what I did last night."
Niemi stopped all 22 shots he faced Wednesday night in the Sharks' 4-0 victory, recording his second shutout of the season and 21st of his career. He improved his record to 14-8-5, lowered his goals-against average to 2.22 and improved his save percentage to .922.
"Nemo's our guy," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "He had a day off in Anaheim, played, day off coming home. Back-to-back, but he (slept) in his own bed. He should be fine."
Niemi is 8-2-2 for his career against Detroit with a 1.96 GAA. In a 2-1 shootout loss on Feb. 28 at HP, he made 33 saves. Niemi has started every game since backup Thomas Greiss suffered a neck injury March 6 at the Calgary Flames that landed him on injured reserve.
As far as Niemi is concerned, the more work the better.
"He's a hockey player," McLellan said. "There's not a guy in there that doesn't want to play three more minutes than they played last night. Everybody wants to dress, and that's a really good thing. And Nemo's no different. He wants the net every night."
Niemi and the Sharks will face a Red Wings team that has won five straight road games, including the first three on their current four-game road trip. The Red Wings defeated the Ducks twice then the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night.
"It's definitely been a good road trip so far," said Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard, who'll start against San Jose after getting a break Monday night when backup Jonas Gustavsson played all 60 minutes against Phoenix. "Tonight we have a chance to make it a great road trip."
Here's how the lineups could look Thursday night when the Sharks face the Red Wings at HP Pavilion:
|Back to top|