SAN JOSE – It was arguably Antti Niemi’s biggest save of the season, and Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart deserves an assist.
Time was winding down in overtime when Anaheim’s Andrew Cogliano drove hard behind the net. Corey Perry was hovering in front, while Cogliano kept moving. We’ll let Niemi take it from there.
“I was playing the short side, thinking [Cogliano] might throw it to the net, and then he went behind,” Niemi said. “I thought he was trying to go quick to the other side, but Stuart actually was talking to me that he was coming to the same side, so I stopped and was able to make the save.”
[RELATED: Sharks edge Ducks in shootout 3-2]
Niemi listened to his defenseman and extended his left pad to the near post to deny the former Hart Trophy winner Perry, keeping his team alive and saving the extra point that the Sharks earned in the shootout.
Stuart was also one of the players in front of Ducks' goalie Jonas Hiller on Logan Couture’s tying goal late in regulation. Hiller told the Orange County Register:
“I saw it when it left [Couture’s] stick and then there were like two, three guys driving in front of me and then I kind of knew where it was going.
“I felt that it hit me and then I was looking for the rebound. I was surprised that it was in. First, I thought it would hit my glove and [go] over me because it hit the top of my glove. When I looked at it, it just looked weird. I guess those things happen.”
Stuart, meanwhile, is now a team-high +9 (second in the NHL), while paired primarily with Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The 33-year-old has two assists and 11 penalty minutes in six games – and, apparently, a pretty booming voice on the ice.
Sharks forward Frazer McLaren is likely on his way back to Worcester, as TSN’s Darren Dreger reported McLaren has been placed on waivers.
This could mean defenseman Jason Demers is ready to return from a fractured wrist. Although they play different positions, the Sharks could opt to carry eight defensemen for the time being, depending on Dan Boyle’s status. Boyle missed Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Ducks with the flu.
Demers has been a non-roster injured player since the start of the season due to the wrist injury he suffered during a game in Switzerland during the lockout. McLaren has not played since opening night in Calgary.