How to Beat the Goalie: Greiss and Niemi

Today's edition of How to Beat the Goalie will be featuring the goalies of the San Jose Sharks. Starting goalie, Antti Niemi, and back up goalie, Thomas Greiss, will be looked at in-depth through video and stats. 

Edition 2: San Jose Sharks goalies, Antti Niemi and Thomas Greiss

Going into this game, not to many people know who the starting goalie will be for Saturday night. Only because this game is the first of back-to-back nights. Sunday, the Sharks head to Minnesota to take on the Wild. I seem to think that Antti Niemi will start against the Predators because, with a biased opinion, it is the more important game and Thomas Greiss will start Sunday. 

Antti Niemi Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks makes a save against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on November 4, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Let's go ahead and start with Antti Niemi, the "projected" starting goalie. If he is to play tonight, this will be the fourth consecutive start. Niemi is from Vantaa, Finland, 6 and half hours from where Pekka Rinne lived. So, there is a different playing style from region to region because Niemi and Rinne obviously don't play the same way. 

6'2" Antti Niemi joined the San Jose Sharks in 2010 and before he went there, Niemi was in Chicago. Predators fans got to see him a lot, including the play offs. Here is how the Nashville Predators will beat Antti Niemi tonight.

  • Traffic!: Someone has to be in front of Niemi either screening him or deflecting the puck.
  • Blocker Side
  • Usually in position: It will be unlikely that Nashville is able to score low. Really covers the angle well. Although, if Nashville does shoot low, Niemi will be a rebound machine off the leg pad.
  • Throw Pucks on Net: Fluky goals are key to winning this game. Higher percent of scoring will happen because of higher amount of shooting.

Here is Antti Niemi's career stats:


#31 Antti Niemi 86 40 17 17 .915 2.39

Here is Antti Niemi's career stats vs Nashville Predators:

#31 Antti Niemi 4 2 1 0 .911 2.39


Thomas Greiss Goaltender Thomas Greiss #1 of the San Jose Sharks deflects a shot away from his goal against the St. Louis Blues in the third period during an NHL hockey game at HP Pavilion at San Jose on October 15, 2011 in San Jose, California.
6'1" German, Thomas Greiss, could be the starting goalie tonight. Greiss is the back up goalie to Antti Niemi, obviously. Greiss has played in only 15 games this season, so he will be a little shaky going into the game. By the way, he has no chance of being a starting goalie in the NHL. Sorry Thomas!

Being a back up goalie is tougher than many people think it is. If Greiss was to get the start, he would have to shake all of the cobwebs out. And morning skate won't do that. It will take a Period to get them all out. Here is how the Predators will beat Thomas Greiss tonight.

  • Pressure Early: The Predators need to jump on him in the first period with a lot of shots and pressure. The Sharks will play extra hard to keep that from happening, but Nashville has to make it happen.
  • Deflection, deflections, deflections…
  • Takes Bad Angles: Unlike Niemi, Greiss doesn't take great angles. Any sniper could beat him in a heartbeat. 

Here is Thomas Greiss' career stats:


#1 Thomas Greiss 15 11 3 0 .913 2.50

Here is Thomas Greiss' career stats vs Nashville:

#1 Thomas Greiss 1 1 0 0 .877 3.54