Niemi made eight saves through one period of play Saturday, but allowed three Dallas goals and was pulled in favor of Kari Lehtonen to start the second period. He allowed three goals. Niemi had won his previous three start, but this one was tough -- the Hawks came to play and the Stars pretty much gifted them opportunities. Neimi will survive and be back on the winning rail soon enough.
Niemi got pulled after allowing three goals on 11 shots in the first period of Saturday's match against Chicago. Niemi has had the net every game since Jan. 19, so it's hard to imagine this means that he's lost the starter job, but it was an ugly start for the Finn.
Niemi will be in the crease in Saturday's game against the Blackhawks. Niemi has earned wins in three consecutive games, but hasn't been particularly sharp of late, allowing three goals on 24 shots in each of his last two starts. The 32-year-old netminder will look to pick up his 21st win of the season Saturday in a tough matchup with a hot Chicago club that has won three of its last four games.
Niemi made 21 saves in Thursday's 4-3 overtime win against Colorado. The win gives Niemi three straight and with 30 games started is starting to edge Kari Lehtonen for the starting job. Niemi wasn't particularly sharp, finishing with a .875 save percentage, but as long as he keeps winning games he should get the nod over Lehtonen. Niemi is one of the lower-end starters despite playing on a team that provides a lot of goal support and could still lose the starting job to Lehtonen if he falters down the stretch. Fantasy owners who have Niemi may want to also have Lehtonen as a handcuff.
Niemi will start between the posts Thursday night against the Avalanche, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports. Niemi will be looking for his third straight win and 20th on the season. The Avs rank eighth in the league with 2.72 goals per game but only three teams average fewer shots on goal at 28.2. Niemi is on the road where he's posted a .903 save percentage in 16 appearances.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||56||31||17||2||3303||132||4||2.40||1||330.4|