2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Antti Niemi, Blackhawks Take Game One

May 16th, 2010 by TAB BAMFORD Leave a reply »
For some reason, the talking heads outside Chicago continued to doubt the playoff readiness of Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi . Even Chicago newspaper analysts (cough, Chris Kuc, cough, Tribune) said the Sharks had an advantage head-to-head in between the pipes in this series.

I’ll wait for Kuc’s retraction on Monday.

Niemi kept 44 of 45 San Jose shots out of the net on Sunday, leading an outstanding performance from the entire Blackhawks roster as they took home ice advantage away from the Sharks with an emphatic 2-1 victory.

Despite allowing a first period goal to Jason Demers, on a shot that appeared to bounce off Duncan Keith’s hip, Niemi and the Blackhawks defense was awesome. Every shot that came on net was blocked, some by the sticks of Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, a few by the bodies of Brent Sopel and Niklas Hjalmarsson, and a lot by the glove of Niemi. In all, the Blackhawks were credited with 19 blocked shots in the game.

The Sharks were effective in the first, keeping a lot of the Blackhawks forwards either behind the net or outside of the circles. The veteran defensemen pushed the action away from Evg ...

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