Niemi back in goal tonight

October 17, 2011, 6:31 pm
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SAN JOSE -- It was a good news day on the injury front for the San Jose Sharks Monday morning as the team took part in its pregame skate before tonights tilt with Anaheim.

Antti Niemi will make his season debut in net after he missed all of preseason and the first three regular season games after surgery to remove a cyst in his knee. Niemi told reporters the news Monday morning. Coach Todd McLellan then confirmed it.

Furthermore, forward Martin Havlat will finally make his Sharks debut on Friday when the team opens up its six-game road trip in New Jersey against the Devils. Havlat has been recovering from left shoulder surgery he underwent in May.

For sure, Im excited for the game. Its great to be back in the net and starting tonight, said Niemi.

McLellan was asked what he wants to see from his goalie tonight.

I want him to be comfortable, and I want him just to play how Antti always plays. He doesnt have to have the weight of the world on his shoulders, he just needs to establish his game again, said the coach. Our guys will do everything they can to help him in that situation, and like anybody, hell have to find his game.

Niemi, who dressed as the backup to Thomas Greiss in the two games over the weekend, didn't seem too concerned that he hasn't seen any real action yet.

Ive been working for a long time in the gym, and the last couple weeks on the ice, so Im pretty confident," he said.

Niemi went 35-18-6 with a 2.38 goals-against average in 2010, including a 2-1-0 mark with a 2.01 goals-against-average against Anaheim.

Havlat, who has been a full participant in practices for over a week now, is expected to get clearance from his doctor at some point prior to Friday according to McLellan.