Programming note: Coverage of Game 7 between the Kings and Sharks begins tonight at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California (Channel locations)
SAN JOSE -- Sharks goalie Antti Niemi will be back in the net for Game 7 on Wednesday night against Los Angeles.
Niemi was chased in games four and five for Alex Stalock, who played all of Game 6 in Los Angeles, a 4-1 Kings win tying the first-round series at three games apiece.
“I think the break was good for Nemo. He got a chance to work on some things in his game that the goaltending coaches wanted to work [on],” Todd McLellan said. “He got a little chance to rest. Our team needed a change heading into Game 6 in L.A.
“We unfortunately had to pull him twice. That wasn’t all on Nemo’s shoulders, it’s pretty evident and pretty obvious. I hope I’ve made that clear. But, moving forward with Nemo, we want to give Nemo an opportunity.”
Niemi was asked how he could use the removal from the starting lineup for a game to his advantage.
“I got a couple extra practice days in between, maybe work on some stuff. Either way, having a day off from the game, not being so focused, maybe that’s a good thing, too,” he said.
“Nemo has got some rest, and he’ll be ready for tonight," Joe Thornton said.
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Niemi was in net for the Sharks in their previous Game 7 at home against Detroit in 2011, making 38 saves in a 3-2 win. A Stanley Cup winner with Chicago in 2010, he has plenty of big game experience to draw upon.
“It’s always a different situation, but of course it gives me a little bit of extra confidence,” he said. “But, it’s more about what’s happening today, and we’ve got to be ready to go.
“I’ve got to think about my own game, and be ready to go early. Do the same things to get ready as I do every day. I feel good to go.”
Niemi is 3-2 with a 3.90 goals-against average and .882 save percentage in the series. In his career, he's 35-25 in the playoffs with a 2.73 GAA and .907 SP.