When the game was on the line and momentum was on the Kings side, Antti Niemi
showed why he is one of the NHL’s elite netminders. Whether was robbing Kyle Clifford on an odd man situation in the third or pushing a puck away in overtime, Niemi was there when it mattered.
“He played excellent,” Joe Thornton
said. “He’s been here (all year) and done that. Especially in overtime he made some huge saves to allow us to win this game.”
“A big save by Nemo in the third and a big save in overtime,” Ryane Clowe
stated. “It’s a good win.”
Every save is a big save, but when Clifford appeared set to provide Los Angeles with their first lead of the game, Nemo had other ideas and kept the contest tied at two.
“That’s just a pass and you try to push and reach as far as you can and you hope to get the puck,” Niemi said, not doing the save justice.
“Nemo showed why he is one of the best goaltenders in the National Hockey League and why he won a Stanley Cup in the past,” McLellan said. “He made some tremendous saves in the third period and in overtime with one off his toe. We feel very comfortable with him in the net.”
McLellan gave well deserved praise to the other side of the ice as well.
“You have to give Jonathan Quick some credit as well,” McLellan fairly pointed out. “He was very good tonight.”
Rookie sensation Logan Couture
scored the Sharks second goal of the game in the second period on a nifty play to evade a check along the boards and then beat Jonathan Quick’s five-hole. Couture escaped the hip check of childhood friend Drew Doughty to find the space.
“I didn’t realize until after that it was him,” Couture said. “He almost caught me. I was lucky to beat him there. It was a big goal for me.”
The goal came about three minutes after the Kings had tied the game at 1-1 on a power play goal which began when Couture’s shot missed the net and rimmed around to put L.A. on an odd man break.
“It was lucky I got it back on the very next shift,” Couture added. “We wanted to win this first game at home since we worked so hard all season for home-ice advantage. It’s good to win this one. Now, our focus is on Game 2.”
“For Logan to come back and score one after he missed the net was important for him as an individual, as well as our team,” McLellan said.