Antti Niemi Earns Third Shutout Of Season In 4-0 San Jose Sharks Win


Mar 8, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) makes a save on a shot by Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks (41-17-7, 89 points) defeated the Montreal Canadiens (35-24-7, 77 points) by the final score of 4-0 in their second-straight win at home.

Antti Niemi once again got the start after playing a solid game two nights ago against the Penguins. He finished with 33 saves and picked up his third shutout of the season while also winning his second-straight against tough eastern opponents.

The strongest line this evening was that of Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, and Matt Nieto which combined for two goals and six points. Couture accounted for half of those with a goal and two assists in his strongest game thus far since returning to the lineup after the Olympics.

Tommy Wingels also had himself a great game scoring twice as the third line also continues its strong play. In fact, he scored San Jose’s first two goals of the game.

His first one, which came just 2:26 into the game, was of the short-handed variety. All he did was crash the net after Couture send a puck on net from center ice, caught goaltender Peter Budaj off-guard, and poked home a loose puck giving the San Jose Sharks an early 1-0 lead.

His second goal of the night, this time at the beginning of the second period, was just a simple deflection play. He stood in front of the net and provided a screen on a Matt Irwin shot from the point and was rewarded for doing the dirty work in front once again. Just like that it was 2-0.

Immediately following that goal Montreal’s starting goaltender Peter Budaj was pulled and in went Dustin Tokarski. Budaj’s night ended with two goals allowed on nine shots.

A couple of minutes after that a fight broke out between Raffi Torres and Jarred Tinordi. It all started with a Torres boarding penalty which Tinordi took offense to, and eventually both guys dropped the gloves and decided to dance. They were rewarded with five-minute majors while Tinordi also received a 10-minute misconduct. That would not be the end of the chippiness either and the game would end with a total of 114 penalty minutes. That’s pretty unusual for a Sharks team who is the fourth-least penalized team in the league.

Also scoring in the second period was rookie Matt Nieto who fired a one-timer after a nice feed from Marleau. That line had a great transition off of a neutral zone turnover and were able to quickly turn it into a goal.

In the third the San Jose Sharks struck again, this time with Nieto feeding a beautiful saucer pass to Couture crashing the net. All Couture had to do was redirect the pass on net and he was able to chip it over Tokarski’s shoulder.

Afterwards the scuffles continued as you could see visible frustration from the Canadiens. Both Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Lars Eller got into a shoving match that escalated and eventually both got two minutes for roughing and 10-minute misconducts. With the penalties coming with just over seven minutes left in regulation, both got to head to the locker rooms early and get a head start in the showers.

Later on, Matt Irwin and Ryan White also received 10-minute misconducts following more after-whistle action and got the privilege of joining their teammates. Eventually though the game would come to a close and with it a 4-0 win for the San Jose Sharks.

GGS 3 Stars
1. Logan Couture (1 goal, 2 assists)
2. Tommy Wingels (2 goals)
3. Antti Niemi (33 saves)