SAN JOSE, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Goaltender Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks makes a glove hand save against the Philadelphia Flyers at HP Pavilion at San Jose on February 28, 2012 in San Jose, California. The Sharks won the game 1-0. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Ryane Clowe scored on San Jose's first shot of the night and Antti Niemi made it stand up as he stopped all 26 Flyers' shots in a 1-0 Sharks' victory.
Clowe beat Ilya Bryzgalov from the left circle high to the blocker side on San Jose's first shot on goal at the 1:22 mark for his 11th goal of the season and first in the last 13 games. With having yielded the goal, the Flyers have now allowed the first goal in a game eight straight times, and in 11 of their last 12.
Both goaltenders would be impenetrable the rest of the way, as each would be tested on several high-quality opportunities. Bryzgalov stopped a Dan Boyle slap shot when the Philadelphia defense backed in late in the first, then made a glove stop on Joe Thornton on a two-on-one, and smothering a Brad Winchester slapper on another two-on-one.
Niemi's hardest tests were held for the game's waning moments, when a furious Flyers' flurry with Bryzgalov pulled for an extra attacker saw great chances by Braydon Coburn and Claude Giroux, but Niemi and the Sharks' skaters were able to get in the way.
It was Niemi's fifth shutout of the season as he improved his record to 25-15-6. The Finnish netminder did a great job in rebound control as there was very little sustained pressure for most of the night from Philly.
San Jose came into the game just 3-8-1 over the last 12 games but was able to jump back into the sixth spot in the Western Conference standings.
Philadelphia, who entered the game tied for the most goals scored in the NHL (203) with the Vancouver Canucks but have now been shut out in two of their last three contests, failed to win consecutive games for the first time since mid-January. They remain in the sixth slot in the East.
Bryzgalov stopped the last 22 shots of the game he faced but took the loss to drop to 22-13-6.