Saturday, December 12, 2009

Matt Niskanen: Sniper

He has just one goal this season for the Dallas Stars.

He had never been called on in a shootout during his three-year NHL career.

But former Bulldog Matt Niskanen took advantage of his opportunity Friday night. In San Jose, the Stars got a third-period goal from Brad Richards to tie San Jose 2-2. The game went scoreless through the rest of regulation and a five-minute overtime. That necessitated a shootout.

The shootout saw each team score during the regular three-round period. That sent us to sudden death, and nothing happened. For seven straight rounds, goalies Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov dueled, making great saves (with Turco throwing in a couple nice pokechecks on Shark shooters who wanted to deke him).

Heading into the 11th round, Stars coach Marc Crawford called on Niskanen, who has plenty of offensive ability, as proven in high school at Virginia/MIB and in college at UMD.

It proved to be the game-winner, with Turco making one more save to seal the 3-2 shootout win.

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