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Niemi's 26 saves gets the job done
Sharks solid in 2-0 win over Boston
2/5/11 - By Mike Lee -

Day games have never been a strong suit for the Sharks. Playing in what would amount to a 10 a.m. start for San Jose at TD Center in Boston, the Sharks threw the track-record out the door and played a solid 60 minutes to a 2-0 decision over the host Bruins. San Jose would lean on goaltender Antti Niemi, who made 26 saves for the shutout.

Fans of rough and tumble east coast style hockey were treated to a hard-hitting affair between two teams that have been playing solid hockey the past 10 days. San Jose would keep things basic, playing a fundamentally sound game and protecting their net for the majority of the game.

Niemi’s performance is something to take note of. After making 27 saves last Wednesday night in Anaheim, the Sharks netminder seemed to be in the right spot for every Boston shot. He would pitch his third shutout of the season and help the Sharks climb to within three points of the division leading Dallas Stars who lost to Philadelphia.

San Jose was lucky to keep the puck out of their own net a minute into a bench minor to Boston for too many men. Mark Recchi found himself with the puck heading toward the net on a short-handed chance. Niemi would defuse the scoring chance by poke checking the puck to safety as the Bruins forward crashed through the crease.

The momentum would do a 180 moments later, when Logan Couture deposited the puck for a power play goal. Couture took a Ryane Clowe feed in the slot, then sent a backhand chance past Bruins netminder Tim Thomas via the five-hole.

A Kent Huskins delay of game penalty with 6 minutes left in the period put the Bruins and the power play, but the Sharks 15th ranked penalty kill would weather the storm. Milan Lucic had the best opportunity to get the Bruins even on the man-advantage, but his put back chance was deflected out in front of the net.

Ben Eager would earn an extra minor for roughing after dropping the gloves with Adam McQuaid late in the period. Once again, the Sharks penalty kill would deny the Bruins 24th ranked power play.

Douglas Murray appeared to put the Sharks up 2-0, but Ben Eager was locked up with Thomas along the left post, drawing an immediate ruling from referee Gord Dwyer who waved off the goal.

Michael Ryder would get a shot off from the bottom of the right circle moments later, but Huskins got his stick blade in front of he shot to deflect is safely in the netting.

San Jose would draw an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when someone chirped from the bench midway through the period. It wasn’t clear who was responsible for the infraction, but Devin Setoguchi earned the privilege of sitting for the bench minor.

Kyle Wellwood created a nice chance with a minute left in the period, setting up Logan Couture for a shot inside the left post. Thomas would hold his ground and the Bruins would go to work. Eager would step in front of three Boston shots on the ensuing rush to preserve the Sharks slim lead.

A strong forecheck by the Sharks five minutes into the 3rd period almost generated a goal when Couture slid a pass to Eager in the slot for a shot on Thomas.

Joe Thornton would take a tripping penalty midway through the period to put the Bruins back on the power play at a critical point in the game. The Sharks nullified any threat by preventing Boston from putting any rubber on Niemi.

Setoguchi would just miss on a drive to the net with 3:46 left in regulation, when Thomas got a glove on the 12 foot shot.

Joe Pavelski had a two-on-one chance with two minutes to play, but he was hauled down from behind. No penalty was called on the play, which kept the nail-biting lead at a single goal.

With the puck pinned in the Boston end, the Bruins couldn’t get Thomas off the ice. When they finally got around to it, there was only 40 seconds left. San Jose would push the puck out of their end allowing Setoguchi to send a 30-foot shot past Zdeno Chara for an empty-net goal to seal the win.

Game Notes:

Carter Hutton was recalled by the Sharks from Worcester to serve as the Sharks backup goaltender. Alex Stalock was expected to rejoin the big club on Saturday, but he was injured in the Worcester Sharks 4-3 win over Manchester on Friday night. Stalock suffered a severed nerve, which has essentially ended his season. San Jose continued their dominance of the Bruins on Boston ice. San Jose last lost in Massachusetts in 2002.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 0 1 2
BOS 0 0 0 0
1st period - 1, SJ, Couture 23 (Clowe, Vlasic), 7:22, (pp).
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, SJ, Setoguchi 11 (Clowe, Wallin), 19:57, (en).
1st period - Bench, BOS (too many men), 5:37; Huskins, SJ (delay of game – puck over glass), 14:00; Eager, SJ (fighting major), 17:53; Eager, SJ, (roughing), 17:53; McQuaid, BOS (fighting major), 17:53.
2nd period - Setoguchi, SJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 10:03; Campbell, BOS (tripping), 12:53.
3rd period - Thornton, SJ (tripping), 10:10.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 26 26
BOS - Thomas 17 16
BOS - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 5 6 7 18
BOS 8 10 8 26
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 2
BOS 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Logan Couture
Antii Niemi
David Krejci
Referees: Dwyer, LaRue. Linesmen: Amell, Barton.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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