If Sharks goalie Antti Niemi derived any vindication or even satisfaction Thursday night, he refused to let it show.

Niemi stopped 40 of 42 shots by the St. Louis Blues allowing the Sharks to win Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals 3-2 in two overtimes. The game was a microcosm of Niemi's season only with a better ending. He lost favor, then gained favor in an up-and-down year that ended with a rush to the playoffs.

"Yeah, it was nice to win this game in St. Louis," Niemi said, but no it was not monumental. "It's what I'm supposed to do, stop the puck. Now we have to take care of [Game] 2."

Niemi got off to a shaky start, as the Blues flipped puck after puck at him from beyond the blue line.

"Maybe they were trying to rattle me a little, I really don't know. Have to ask them," Niemi stopped all seven shots the Blues took, but his puck-handling made for more than a couple of moments of expense; he also had a difficult time controlling the puck on shots he blocked. Little did he know what was coming.

The Blues stepped up the pressure in the second period, controlling the tempo and taking 13 shots, all of which were turned away. The Blues had at least two excellent opportunities when Niemi seemed to lose track of the puck.