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After 60 minutes of tightly played, evenly matched hockey against the Detroit Red Wings, the San Jose Sharks remained the lone team in the NHL without a regulation loss. So it was onto overtime and then the shootout, where Antti Niemi and Jimmy Howard continued their scoreless goaltending duel.
Logan Couture finally solved Howard, stick side after a little fake to his backhand. It was up to Todd Bertuzzi to finally solve Niemi and extend the game.
Did he figure him out? Well, he had Niemi down on his stomach with a gaping net behind him.
Did he beat him? Thanks to a brilliant desperation pad save that’ll go down as one of the season’s best … no, Bertuzzi didn’t.
From CSN Bay Area, speaking with Coach Todd McLellan:
McLellan said: “It was a helluva safe, wasn’t it? ‘Burt’ made a great move and had [Niemi] down and out, and he anticipated him going up, and got it with the pad.”
“He kind of had me down there, but usually they still try to get it higher off the ice. It’s kind of instinct and reaction,” Niemi said.
The goaltender finished with 24 saves to record his first shutout of the season. He’s 11-2-2 in his career against Detroit.
Niemi is 8-0-1 on the season. Going back to last season, Niemi is on a 20-4-2 regular-season run for the Sharks. It’s really not too early to start the Vezina talk.