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Antti Niemi starts in goal for Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Antti Niemi started in goal for the San Jose Sharks in the opener of their first-round playoff series against Los Angeles.

Coach Todd McLellan said before Thursday night's game that he was sticking with Niemi over rookie Alex Stalock despite Niemi's late-season struggles. Niemi has started all 34 playoff games since joining the Sharks in the 2010-11 season.

Also, forward Raffi Torres is back after the missing the final 17 games of the regular season with an injury. Torres played just five games all year after tearing a knee ligament in the preseason.

Rookie Tomas Hertl made his playoff debut. Hertl missed 45 games after an illegal knee-on-knee hit from Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown on Dec. 19, but returned for the final two games of the season.