Sharks-Caps. Sorry, Ovi.

I was at HP Pavilion for Saturday night's 5-2 victory against a reinvigorated Washington Capital's game. The Sharks got great shifts from every line, and it was great to see Burns and Boyle get some points on the board. I was also happy that Torrey Mitchell netted the empty-netter (he went to my high school). But what was most important was the Sharks' ability to contain Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin. The biggest reason neither of the snipers hit the back of the net was probably the absence of Nicklas Backstrom, who was a scratch after receiving an elbow to the head during a game last week. Marcus Johansson and Brooks Laich are good players, but they lack the creativity and star-power of Ovechkin's normal playmaker.

Antii Niemi played another solid, though not overwhelmingly spectacular game. His most memorable moment of the night would have to have been the last second kick save on Joel Ward in the crease on a move that looked like it would surely lead to a goal. Preserving the lead, Niemi looked confident and was always in position.

A 5-2 victory against a Caps team that had won four in a row is a great sign for the Sharks.

New from around the NHL:

*rumor king Eklund has reported that Antero Niittyymaki (a healthy scratch in the game against the Capitals) is on the trading block with Toronto and the New York Islanders as possible destinations.

*The NHLPA blocked the four conference realignment plan. The main reasons were travel and the lack of a mock schedule that showed the potential changes. Winnipeg will hopefully still be able to move (or switch with Phoenix/Quebec/Hamilton) next season.

Here was the original conference announcement:

*Finally here is a great brawl from the Canucks-Bruins rematch this weekend.

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