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Niemi stops 25 shots as Sharks blank Flames

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POSTED January 24, 2012 9:14 p.m.

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Benn Ferriero scored and Antti Niemi made 25 saves to lead the San Jose Sharks over the Calgary Flames 1-0 on Tuesday night in the final game before All-Star break for both teams.

Ferriero's goal came with 8:25 to go in the third period on a scramble in front of Calgary's net. Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made stops on Dan Boyle and Logan Couture before the puck bounced in the air, where Ferriero gloved it down and slapped it in.

Calgary generated only 11 shots during the first 40 minutes, but Niemi was much busier in the third in earning his third shutout of the season.

Niemi made three excellent saves to keep the game scoreless, including a glove save off Mikael Backlund on the opening shift of the period. Niemi also got a glove on Alex Tanguay's backhand attempt on a breakaway 5 minutes later, and jabbed out a pad to deny Tim Jackman on a dangerous rebound from close-in.

Niemi was again tested in the final 90 seconds as the Flames pulled their goalie and poured on the pressure. Flames forwards Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen both had dangerous chances but couldn't beat the Finnish goaltender.

It was a bounce-back game for Niemi, who got the night off Monday night against Edmonton after giving up four goals in each of his previous two starts.

San Jose snapped a three-game winless skid and heads into the break in first place in the Pacific Division, two points up on the Los Angeles Kings.

Calgary has lost two straight at home on the heels of an eight-game winning streak. The Flames were back at home after a successful three-game trip in which they earned five of a possible six points. Their only loss came 2-1 in a shootout against the Sharks last Tuesday.

Kiprusoff's best stop over the first two periods was a scrambling save off Patrick Marleau, who was at the side of the net trying to get his stick on a loose puck.

Kiprusoff finished with 26 saves.

NOTES: Tanguay (neck) returned after missing 15 games. ... San Jose D Brent Burns (knee) did not play after getting hurt Monday night in Edmonton. ... The Sharks dressed seven defensemen with Jim Vandermeer (upper-body injury) playing his first game since Dec. 6. ... Newly sidelined for the Flames is LW Lance Bouma (foot) and C Matt Stajan (ankle). ... Calgary is the only NHL team without a short-handed goal. ... Calgary falls to 11-4-6 in one-goal games.

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