NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Add another milestone to Antti Niemi’s growing resume.
With his 3-0 shutout in the Chicago Blackhawks' critical Game 4 win over the Nashville Predators, he became the first Hawks goaltender since Tony Esposito in 1974 to record two shutouts in one postseason series.
And this was no 18-save performance. Niemi stopped 33 shots, including three on an important 5-on-3 penalty kill in the first period.
"I think the shot blocking was really good," Niemi said of his defense. "They were pretty unbelievable."
Add humble to that resume as well. Niemi wasn't even overly impressed with his second shutout in his last three games.
"It's a great thing, but it doesn't really matter at this point, as long as we win," Niemi said. "It doesn't even matter if they score in the last five seconds as long as we win."
Niemi may not be that impressed with himself but his teammates and coach are.
"He's been good, and we're going to keep needing him to be the same way," Duncan Keith said.
"He’s been solid," coach Joel Quenneville said. "He's been big. He's finding the puck. He's been rock solid."
In fact, take away a fluke goal in Game 1, and Niemi has arguably been the Hawks' most consistent player.
It's a far cry from the hand-wringing that went on during the regular season regarding Hawks goalies.
"It's been fun," Niemi said.
Watching him certainly has been.