SAN JOSE — For once, a coach didn't play it coy when asked about his starting goaltender for a crucial playoff game.
San Jose Coach Todd McLellan, whose team has relinquished its 3-0 lead over the
McLellan, in essence, is going with the goalie principally responsible for the Sharks’ 111 points and second-place finish in the
"I think the break was good for Nemo. He got a chance to work on some things in his game with the goaltending coaches," McLellan said of Niemi, who had a 3.90 goals-against average and .882 save percentage in his first five appearances in the series.
"He got a little chance to rest. Our team needed a change heading into Game 6 in L.A. Unfortunately, we had to pull him twice and that wasn't all on Nemo's shoulders. It's pretty evident and pretty obvious. I hope I've made that clear.
"But moving forward with Nemo, we want to give Nemo an opportunity. For us to win tonight, or for them to win, in that case, you'll hear the clichés about it takes a full team, and obviously it will. I just think our core on our team has to step up. They were there early in the series. L.A.'s core has been there later in the series. Tonight's the deciding game, and in my opinion, Nemo's a very big part of that core, so they're going to get their chance to perform in Game 7."
McLellan also said defenseman