After a scoreless 60 minutes of regulation play and five more scoreless minutes in overtime, it came down to the shootout in Detroit tonight, and after Logan Couture scored the only goal of the game in the second round of the shootout, Niemi made an amazing save to clinch the victory for the Sharks.
San Jose is now 8-0-1 on the season, as they started a five-game road trip tonight at Joe Louis Arena against the Red Wings tonight. Niemi made 24 saves on the night in regulation and overtime -- and of course, that huge effort in the shootout to win the game for the Sharks.
And perhaps it was the reaction of the Red Wings' Todd Bertuzzi -- after Niemi robbed him of the potential game-extending goal in the shootout -- that truly says it all: what more could Detroit do to win this game?
It's the only time the Sharks will have to go to Joe Louis this year, as the Wings are now in the Eastern Conference, and unless the two teams meet in the Stanley Cup Finals, San Jose won't have to go to Motown again.
So it was a perfect way for Niemi and his teammates to bid adieu to the Joe for the season.
The Sharks took 27 shots against Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard, who was just as good as Niemi, obviously. But in the end, San Jose's netminder was just a little bit better.
Sometimes, that's all you need to be to get those two points.
With the victory, the Sharks maintained a three-point lead in the Pacific Division over the Anaheim Ducks (7-1), off to a good start themselves for the second season in a row, just like San Jose.
The Sharks still have the league's best goal differential mark at +24, as they head next to Boston on Thursday night to face the Bruins (5-2), the Eastern Conference champions from last season who lost the Stanley Cup Finals in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks.