Antti Niemi G SAN 5 Months

There's speculation that the San Jose Sharks will unload goaltender Antti Niemi.

Niemi's inconsistent regular season carried over into the playoffs, and while there is a long list of San Jose players to blame for the so-called reverse sweep by the Kings, the performance in net from Niemi is near the top. Niemi finished with a 3-3 record in the seven-game, first-round series. He had a 3.74 goals-against average and .884 save percentage. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, but his career playoff numbers (2.74 GAA, .907 SP in 62 games) are below average when compared to many top goaltenders. Niemi was pulled in Games 4 and 5 against the Kings, while Alex Stalock looked good in relief. He started Game 6. In his first full NHL season, Stalock was 12-5-2 with a 1.87 GAA and .932 SP in the regular season. He was solid in the playoffs. At 26, he could be the Kings' goalie of the future, meaning Niemi could be out of San Jose pretty soon.

Antti Niemi G SAN 5 Months

Antti Niemi let in three goals on 28 shots in San Jose's 5-1 loss to Los Angeles in Game 7 of their first round playoff series on Wednesday night.

You can't blame Niemi for the loss, because the Kings scored some nice goals and two of those five goals was scored in empty net. Niemi had a difficult postseason with a 3.74 goals-against average and .884 save percentage in six games. He played a solid regular season, but the Sharks needed more from him in the postseason.

Antti Niemi G SAN 5 Months

Antti Niemi is expected to start in Game 7 on Wednesday.

That's according to Joe Thornton. Niemi didn't start in Game 6, but his replacement, Alex Stalock, stopped just 26 of 30 shots in that contest. Niemi has an ugly 3.90 GAA and .882 save percentage in five games in the playoffs.

Antti Niemi G SAN 5 Months

The biggest question going into Wednesday night's trio of Game 7's is who will get the start in the Sharks' goal, as both Antti Niemi and Alex Stalock have struggled through Games 4, 5 and 6.

Niemi won a Stanley Cup in 2010 with the Blackhawks, has 35 career playoff victories and a 1-1 record in Game 7's. Stalock, of course, started his first career NHL playoff game on Monday and allowed four goals on 30 shots, although stopped all 26 shots he faced relieving Niemi in Games 4 and 5 combined.

Antti Niemi G SAN 5 Months

Antti Niemi was pulled in Game 5 against the Kings, the second straight time he's been yanked in the first-round series.

Niemi gave up three goals on 19 shots, getting pulled 22 seconds into the second period. He allowed five goals in a Game 4 loss, lasting just over two periods then. Niemi entered the game with a 3.45 goals-against average and .889 save percentage. Alex Stalock came in to relieve him.

Antti Niemi G SAN 5 Months

Antti Niemi isn't overly concerned after being pulled from Game 4 on Thursday.

Niemi allowed five goals on 26 shots in San Jose's 6-3 loss to the Kings. "I thought five goals is way, way too much, but overall I thought I felt good," Niemi said. "I saw the puck well. I'm not too worried about that." San Jose won the first three games of the series, so Los Angeles is still against the ropes.

Antti Niemi G SAN 5 Months

Antti Niemi allowed five goals on 26 shots in San Jose's 6-3 loss to Los Angeles in Game 4 of their first round playoff series.

Niemi played his worst game of this year's playoffs and he was replaced by Alex Stalock in the third period. Stalock stopped all four shots he faced in the game. Although the Sharks lead their playoff series 3-1 against the Kings, Niemi's numbers are quite awful. He now has a 3.45 goals-against average with .889 save percentage in the postseason.

Antti Niemi G SAN 5 Months

Antti Niemi stopped 28 of 31 shots in San Jose's 4-3 overtime win past Los Angeles Wednesday night in Game 3 of the playoff series.

Niemi has all San Jose wins in the postseason, thanks largely to all the offensive support he's been receiving from his teammates. Niemi now has a 2.58 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in the postseason.

Antti Niemi G SAN 5 Months

Antti Niemi turned aside 24 of the 26 shots he faced as he and the San Jose Sharks crushed the visiting Los Angeles Kings 7-2 Sunday night in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.

The Sharks lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, and have thoroughly dominated. They won Game 1 6-3. Niemi has both San Jose wins in the post-season, thanks largely to all the offensive support he's been receiving from his teammates. His GAA after the two postseason games this year is 2.50 and his save percentage, .917.

Antti Niemi G SAN 5 Months

San Jose goalie Antti Niemi needed only 18 seconds Thursday to show that he was on his game.

Los Angeles forward Jeff Carter had sneaked past the San Jose defense and was alone for the first shot of Game 1, only to have Niemi get a piece of the puck. A quality scoring chance but no goal. "It was a pretty huge save," Sharks center James Sheppard said. "That's a puck that could easily have went in, and that's 18 seconds into a series. So when I saw it, I was pretty happy. I knew he was going to be there -- not that I had any doubts." Sheppard might not have had any doubts, but others did. Niemi had faltered at times down the stretch, while rookie backup Alex Stalock was more consistent. Coach Todd McLellan added to the drama by not publicly naming his starter until game day. Thursday, Niemi rewarded his team's faith, stopping the first 19 shots he faced before giving up three goals in the third period after the Sharks had built a 5-0 lead. And none of those Los Angeles goals could be categorized as softies in what ended up as a 6-3 win for San Jose.