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Niemi helps Sharks blank Flames

Jan 25, 2012 - 6:43 AM
Calgary, AB (Sports Network) - Antti Niemi made 25 saves to record his third shutout of the season as the San Jose Sharks blanked the Calgary Flames, 1-0, at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Niemi, who backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks all the way to the Stanley Cup in 2010, was in championship form, stopping eight shots in the first period, three in the second, and 14 shots in the final period to secure his 16th career whitewashing.

Benn Ferriero scored the only goal of the game for the Sharks, who snapped a three-game skid.

Miikka Kiprusoff was the hard-luck loser, stopping 26-of-27 shots in defeat for the Flames, who had a brief two-game winning streak stopped.

The deciding goal occurred at 11:35 of the third period amid a mad scramble in front of Kiprusoff.

Sharks' defenseman Dan Boyle accepted a pass right along the blue line and wristed a shot on net that was kicked out by the veteran Finnish netminder and the puck sat in the slot.

2011 Calder Trophy finalist Logan Couture jumped on the initial rebound, but Kiprusoff made an outstanding save. The puck then popped up in the air and landed in the crease before Ferriero spotted it and whipped it into the net.

Niemi stood tall over the final eight-plus minutes of action, stealing a much needed win for his team.

With the victory, the Sharks improved to 27-14-6 on the season. They currently sit atop the Pacific Division with 60 points and three games in hand on the second-place Los Angeles Kings, who have 58 points.

"We had some chances, especially in the third period," Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. "But we weren't good enough here tonight."

Game Notes

San Jose failed to convert on two power-play opportunities, while the Flames went 0-for-1 with the man advantage...San Jose will resume its schedule following the All-Star break on January 31 with a home date against the Columbus Blue Jackets, while the Flames will resume their schedule at home against the Detroit Red Wings, also on January 31...Despite the loss, the Flames have gone 10-2-1 in their last 11 home games. Calgary is 23-21-6 at the All Star break.