Goaltender Antti Niemi gave up a Detroit Red Wings tally midway through the first period but then stonewalled the fierce Red Wings for the remainder of the game as the Sharks won 2-1 in overtime.
“We played well both offensively and defensively,” Niemi said after the game. “Overall, we played a really good game.”
Niemi was 24-for-25 in net and didn’t have to face too many shots with traffic surrounding him.
“Traffic comes off a cycle,” Detroit Head Coach Mike Babcock said. “Traffic doesn’t come off as much when you’re on a rush. If you’re not going to spend a lot of time in the (offensive) zone, you’re not going to have a lot of traffic.”
With the win, it’s sure to add to Niemi’s confidence in between the pipes, said Head Coach Todd McLellan.
“He was able to see the puck a little bit more and settle in,” McLellan said. “It’s nice for him to only have one (goal) against. It’s nice for him to get the win.”
A little bit of luck played into the game on several occasions and Niemi was quick to admit that some of the shots he partially blocked serendipitously didn’t end up in the net.
“I remember one early in the game.” said the Finnish netminder. “It hit my shoulder after it was tipped in the middle of the ice. I didn’t know where it was for a little bit but saw that it went over the net. There was a little bit of luck.”