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Sharks' Antti Niemi will start Stadium Series

2/21/2015

Antti Niemi will be the San Jose Sharks' starting netminder Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings at Levi's Stadium.

Niemi is fresh off a 37-save performance against the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

The win was a critical one for the Sharks, as they sputtered into the home stretch before Saturday's game.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan was happy to see his team regain some confidence with a victory against a fellow Western Conference foe.

"I think it made us feel better today, which we needed as a team, but tomorrow it starts all over again. Momentum's reestablished night after night. It just made today better," McLellan said. "When we woke up in the morning, we felt a little better about ourselves, and we could enjoy the day without a loss on our minds. And right now, that's important for us."

More from Levi's Stadium

  • Though several players were diplomatic about ice conditions following Friday's practice, it was clear the playing surface was far from ideal.

    When the Sharks took the ice Friday afternoon, there were still several slick spots noticeable on the surface, though the players were optimistic the conditions would improve by Saturday night.

    "The ice was a little chippy," Sharks forward Logan Couture said. "I'm sure it will be a little better tomorrow."

    Joe Pavelski described it as "a little soft, but not too bad."

    Compared to some of the chillier locales of previous outdoor game, Saturday's match will present a unique challenge with the humidity expected to be a significant factor for ice conditions.

    The league is expected to try a special formula on the glass to inhibit the fog from rising, however.

    And though the stadium lights were bothersome to a few players -- Couture compared a high-flying puck to losing a baseball in similar circumstances -- Kings center Anze Kopitar found it to be not the least bit troubling.

    In fact, he admitted the eye black patches he sported during the Kings' evening practice was for cosmetic effect alone.

  • The NHL will be experimenting with some new technology in Saturday's game, inserting a camera within each goalpost.

    The cameras, located approximately 75 percent up the post toward the crossbar, were installed to capture alternate angles of the action, including pucks suspended in midair.

  • Several players marveled at the size of the locker rooms within Levi's Stadium and the football paraphernalia that could be found within the arena.

    Couture, a huge NFL fan himself ("Not a 49ers fan," he insisted, "A Bills fan.") said he was tempted to take a pair of cleats home when he saw them in an adjacent room.

    "The big ones that the O-linemen wear," Couture explained.

  • Though the home team will not do the customary skate-through prior to puck drop, the famous Shark Head will be accounted for at Levi's Stadium on Saturday, according to NHL.com.

    The Shark Head, a staple at San Jose's SAP center, was transported to the stadium on Thursday.

    Fans will get the chance to take pictures with it during Saturday's pregame rally.