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ANALYSIS: Antti Niemi Has Best Game Of Season; For Blackhawks, Same Old Story

When the San Jose Sharks signed former Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi, they hoped for better results than he had given them thus far. He’d even been benched for his fellow Finn Antero Niittymaki.

Last night, Niemi had his best game of the season, turning back 30 of 32 shots. And for the Blackhawks, it was a familiar recap: failure to execute on power plays. They couldn’t take advantage of several, including 44 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage. Meanwhile, the Sharks scored twice on power plays en route to a 5-2 win, putting the Blackhawks at 2-2 on the “circus trip” with two games remaining, in Anaheim on Friday and Los Angeles on Saturday. At least that’ll cut down on the travel, which has to be wearying at this point. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Corey Crawford in goal for one of those games.

Jake Dowell and Patrick Sharp scored the Blackhawks goals Wednesday night. It’s little consolation, but Sharp is now fourth in the NHL in goal scoring, behind Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Semin.