TAMPA, Fla. — Goalie Antti Niemi will be back in net Saturday when the Sharks wrap up their three-game trip with a matinee against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Sharks are hoping to return home a perfect 3-0 after a shootout win over the Washington Capitals and a win over the Florida Panthers with back-up Alex Stalock getting his first career shutout.
Sharks Coach Todd McLellan has said Stalock will start more frequently in the future than he has in the past because Niemi will be traveling to the Sochi Olympics as a member of Team Finland and might benefit long-term from a few more games off.
And, the coach has indicated, the team could benefit from seeing Stalock in different situations, perhaps consecutive games. But that won't happen today.
"There is some benefit to that, absolutely," McLellan said, "but this hasn't been a taxing trip for Nemo at all."
Other than Niemi's return to the lineup, McLellan said he plans to stick with the same lineup that won 3-2 in Florida.
That means that although Marty Havlat has been cleared to play after being taken off injured reserve, he will miss another game and McLellan defined the situation similarly to the way he handled things last season when Havlat was in and out of the lineup.
"There's nights where we need certain ingredients in the lineup. We want to play a fast and hard game and we want to put the guys in the lineup that we feel can play that way. And Marty can play that way," McLellan said. "He will be available to us. We'll make decisions based on the rest of the roster and on the opponents, like we always have."