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Antti Niemi will start for Sharks in Game 7 after sitting Game 6

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Antti Niemi will start Game 7 after a Game 6 benching. (Getty Images)
Antti Niemi will start Game 7 after a Game 6 benching. (Getty Images)

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With one game to decide if the Sharks live to see another day in the 2013-14 season, coach Todd McLellan is turning back to his No. 1 goaltender in net.

After being benched in Game 6, Antti Niemi will get the start for San Jose in Game 7 on Wednesday night against the Kings. Captain Joe Thornton says he'll be ready to go.

Niemi has not been particuarly strong in this series, especially since the Kings started their comeback from a 3-0 series hole to force Game 7 but this is the right call for McLellan to make. Alex Stalock made his first playoff start in Game 6 and he didn't have much more success than Niemi did.

Niemi, meanwhile, not only has plenty of playoff experience but knows what Game 7s are all about too. He has played in two of them with a 1-1 record and a save percentage of .931. Oh, and he has a Stanley Cup.

Even with his struggles this postseason, that experience and his season-long role of the No. 1 guy is tough to pass on.

But he definitely has had a rough go of it in the playoffs, and even in the latter stages of the regular season. In the five games he has started in this series he has a save percentage of just .882, well below the .930 he posted last postseason.

In another bit of expected lineup news for the Sharks, Marc-Edouard Vlasic will be out for Game 7 after missing Game 6 in LA.

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