CHICAGO -- He may not have stolen the show, but Antti Niemi was certainly good enough on Sunday night.
The Chicago Blackhawks goaltender stopped 23 of 27 shots, including all seven he faced in the opening period, as his club moved within one victory of its first Stanley Cup in 49 years with a 7-4 win against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 at the United Center.
It was a step in the right direction for Niemi coming off back-to-back losses in Philadelphia. He spoke with the media after the game.
Q: How proud are you of the way the team responded after losing Games 3 and 4 in Philadelphia?
Niemi: It's a huge win for us. We had lots of scoring today. I thought we were able to play pretty tight, especially in the third.
Q: Can you just talk about your performance … did you want to have any of those goals back?
Niemi: Yeah, the third one was a bad rebound of mine. I should have had it with my stick. I just have to focus on seeing the puck all the way.
Q: That being said, the guys in front of you blocked a lot of shots, and the transition led to some solid goals, right?
Niemi: Yeah, it was great that they could help me, and they scored some huge goals for us. It was easy for me to play, too.
Q: The saves that you made to preserve two-goal leads in the second period were solid, especially the one on Mike Richards. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Niemi: Just a half-lucky save. I was expecting a shot and I saw that he snuck to the goal and I just threw my leg out there.
Q: How comfortable were you watching the team perform the way it did in the first period?
Niemi: Of course, it's easier to continue playing after that. It's way better for the whole team to just keep on playing after that.
Q: What were you looking to change personally after the two losses in Philadelphia? What adjustments were you hoping to make?
Niemi: Not too much ... if anything, maybe some technical things. Just knowing what they're trying to do and go from there.
Q: Was the first period difficult at all considering you didn't see a lot of shots?
Niemi: Of course, it's way easier when you get lots of shots on net and make lots of saves. It's a little tougher, but it means the team is playing well.
Q: Knowing how close you are now, what are these next few days going to be like?
Niemi: I think I just want to relax, especially for (Monday). I just want to sleep and eat well.
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