SAN JOSE, Calif. - Antti Niemi will start in goal for the San Jose Sharks in the opener of their first-round playoff series against Los Angeles.
Coach Todd McLellan said before Thursday night's game that he is sticking with Niemi over rookie Alex Stalock despite Niemi's late-season struggles. Niemi has started all 34 playoff games since joining the Sharks in the 2010-11 season.
Also, forward Raffi Torres is back after the missing the final 17 games of the regular season with an injury. Torres played just five games all year after tearing a knee ligament in the preseason.
Rookie Tomas Hertl will make his playoff debut. Hertl missed 45 games after an illegal knee-on-knee hit from Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown on Dec. 19 but returned for the final two games of the season.
We're buyers. We're committed to winning. That's what [owner Vinnie Viola] has said all along and what we've said all along. We want to win. We want to win a championship. We're putting the pieces together, step by step, and we're hopeful that Jaromir can lead these young guys to the promised land. It's a win-win for us.
— Panthers GM Dale Tallon on Jaromir Jagr, who he traded for from the Devils on Thursday