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Arch Niemi: Sharks goalie blanks former team

Nov 24, 2011 - 7:19 AM an Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Antti Niemi got his first shutout of the season against his former team, making 34 saves Wednesday night to lead the San Jose Sharks over the Chicago Blackhawks, 1-0.

Niemi, who backstopped the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup title in 2010, made 11 saves in the third period after stopping 10 shots in the first and 13 in the second, posting his 14th career shutout.

"That's why we pay the big bucks to Nemo," said San Jose forward Ryane Clowe.

Jason Demers scored his first goal of season, and seventh of his career, on a power play late in the second period after the Sharks won a faceoff in the Chicago zone.

San Jose killed off four Blackhawks power plays to earn its fourth straight win and sixth in seven games.

Corey Crawford had 20 saves for the Blackhawks, who have lost three in a row on the heels of a four-game winning streak. They have been outscored 15-4 in losses to Calgary, Edmonton and San Jose.

Niemi, who had six shutouts in his first season with the Sharks, kept his team in the game in the first period. Chicago had two power plays in the period and out-shot the Sharks, 10-5.

"That's the way we wanted to play going into that game," said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. "We play like that, we'll find ways to get points."

On some of the better Chicago chances, Niemi liked knowing the player skating against him.

"For whatever reason," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said, "he likes playing against his former team and we're thankful for that."

The game was scoreless until Logan Couture won a faceoff in the left circle and Clowe was able to get the puck back to Demers for a shot that bounced through the crease to beat Crawford.

The play was something San Jose has worked on a lot.

"I guess you could call it a set play because we stress it so much," said Clowe.

The Blackhawks, who killed three other Sharks power plays, fell to 1-3-0 on their six game circus road trip -- so named because they're forced from their building by the circus.

Game Notes

Chicago has just three wins and a tie in its last 15 games at San Jose...The Blackhawks will finish their road trip in Anaheim and Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday.