by Patrick Hoffman on 05/13/11 at 05:19 PM ET
That is exactly what San Jose Sharks’ goaltender Antti Niemi is a part of.
Since becoming a full-time NHL netminder with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, all Niemi has done is win whether it is in the regular season or when it matters most, the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
For the second straight season, Niemi has led his club to the Western Conference Finals, giving his team a chance to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. This season, he’ll be facing off against Roberto Luongo, a guy he beat soundly last season when the Blackhawks knocked out the Canucks in the second round in last year’s postseason.
While his current playoff stats (7-5, 3.01 goals against average and a .906 save percentage) might not indicate exactly what Niemi has meant to the Sharks’ in this year’s playoffs, there is no doubting that he is doing all the right things between the pipes for the Sharks. Niemi was rock solid between the pipes in both Game 6 and 7 and gave his club every opportunity to win a hockey game, which is exactly what a netminder is suppossed to do come playoff time.
He may not be flashy or make stopping pucks look easy but when all is said and done, Niemi will end up with the ‘W’ more often than not.
That’s all that matters now, right?
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at email@example.com.