Antti Niemi (Francois Lacasse/Getty Images)
San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi made a huge save, going post-to-post to deny Ottawa winger Alex Chiasson's point-blank attempt Monday night. After the stop, however, the puck flipped up and over Niemi when Sharks winger Tommy Wingels swooped in and came to the rescue.
Sometimes, no matter how great a save may be, a goaltender needs a little help from the rest of his teammates. That's exactly what happened Monday night after Sharks netminder Antti Niemi robbed Senators winger Alex Chiasson.
Niemi, whose future in San Jose is uncertain, added a clip to his free agent highlight reel with a post-to-post save on Chiasson that showcased his flexibility. With Ottawa up 1-0 nearing the midway mark of the second period, Niemi robbed Chiasson with his right pad on what was a huge chance. However, after the stop, the puck flipped up and over Niemi, but failed to cross the line thanks to a last-second effort from Sharks winger Tommy Wingels:
The Sharks rode the momentum of the huge stop, scoring twice in the next six and a half minutes to take a 2-1 lead. Though San Jose held their lead into the third period, Ottawa scored little more than two minutes into the third period to tie the contest and scored four unanswered in the period to skate away with a 5-2 victory.
Niemi made 30 saves, but his effort wasn't enough. With the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames winning Monday, the loss may have been the final blow to San Jose's playoff hopes. The Sharks are now 10 points out of the second wild-card spot and six points out of third in the Pacific Division.