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Niemi performs his latest bounce-back act

05/04/2010 8:46 AM

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CHICAGO -- He’s making it a habit and Blackhawks fans continue to wonder just how goalie
Antti Niemi continues to pick himself up off the mat after poor performances to shine the next time out.
In the series opener of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against Nashville, Niemi let a lobbed puck that bounced off the ice in front of him get through for a goal that kicked-started the Predators’ comeback win. The next time out he didn’t allow a single goal in a win the Hawks had to have to avoid a 2-0 hole, one few playoff teams escape.

Monday night, in front of a packed house at the United Center, Niemi worked his magic again with the help of some improved defense in front of him.
After allowing five goals to Vancouver on Saturday night in the opener of this semifinal series, he came out and got another huge rebound win to draw Chicago even -- and this time, he did his bounce-back trick within the actual game, after allowing two goals by the time 5:02 had elapsed in the first period.
Q: How does it feel to beat the Canucks?

Niemi: Great, of course. First win against Vancouver and winning in the third period, it feels good.
Q: When they got those two quick goals to start the game, what were you telling yourself at that point?

Niemi: You don't want to think too much. You want to get more energy in the game and be more focused, but you don’t want to (replay) those (goals) over too much.
Q: Why are you so good facing adversity?

Niemi: I don’t know why that is, but you don’t want to get too rattled about just one game. You just want to keep your focus how it was. Maybe do a few things different, but keep your main focus the same.
Q: How’d you get to be such an even-tempered person and does that help in that kind of situation?

Niemi: Yeah, that’s then one thing you want to try to do. You want to be patient and not worry about things you can’t affect too much.
Q: How long did it take you to put Game 1 in the past?

Niemi: We went through some of the goals on tape and try to think if there is something wrong and what should I change, but in a series like this, playing often, you don’t want to make any huge changes.
Q: Was it easy for you to stay calm after the first five minutes of this game and if so, how are you able to do that?

Niemi: It's not easy when you get scored on that early in the game, but I think you just want to see the puck and forget about the goals.
Q: How big of a win was this?

Niemi: It’s a huge win. If we had lost today, things wouldn’t be good for us.
Q: How confident were you feeling before this game?

Niemi: For sure, you try not to think about the previous game but it’s still in the back of your head. Not the best situation when you get pulled in a game.
Q: When you have a game like you had in Game 1, does it make you mad?

Niemi: Yeah, for sure it does. Especially the day after the game when you go through things and you think if you focused right and did all the things you could do. You get mad but you forget about it pretty (fast).
Q: Did sitting out that third period in the first game help you in any way? Did you see something maybe from the bench?

Niemi: I think maybe it’s just more they gave me a chance to get my focus on the next game. They (also) don’t want me to get scored on anymore.
Q: Did it bother you?

Niemi: No, it didn’t bother me at all.