It’s not often the Sharks need their goaltender to bail them out. A deep offensive attack combined with responsible play in their own zone is why they are once again challenging for the President’s Trophy for most points in the league.

On Sunday, though, they needed Antti Niemi to stand tall, as a fatigued group playing its third road game in four days was not at the top of its game. He did, stealing a game for his club for perhaps the first time this season.

The 30-year-old made 41 saves in blanking the New York Rangers and almost singlehandedly claiming two points for his team.

He also sent a message with his best performance of the season, according to head coach Todd McLellan.

“I think tonight, what Nemo did – not to the hockey world, but just to his teammates and to the club – was say, hey, I’m Nemo. I’m capable of doing this,” McLellan said. “Not that he’s been weak by any means, he’s been a very solid goaltender, but that was a heck of a performance. He just basically said to his teammates, you guys are getting ready and playing hard, I am too.”

Many hockey experts, including those residing in Las Vegas, have pegged the St. Louis Blues as the team to beat in the Western Conference. It’s easy to see why. The Blues addressed their biggest weakness by acquiring all-world goalie Ryan Miller at the trade deadline to man the pipes. Since bringing in Miller and the agitating Steve Ott from Buffalo, the Blues have a 7-0-1 mark, and lead the league with 97 points.