Alex Stalock will start an NHL game in the very near future for the San Jose Sharks. Really, he will.

The backup goaltender to Antti Niemi has been patiently waiting his turn to see some actual game action, and it will very likely come this weekend when the Sharks have their first back-to-back situation of the season. San Jose visits the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday at 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST, and Ottawa Senators less than 24 hours later on Sunday at 5 p.m. EST/2 p.m. PST.

Niemi is the only NHL goaltender this season that has played every minute of every game for his team, and he’s posted impressive numbers in the process. He’s tied for the league lead with eight wins, has a 1.67 goals-against average (fourth among goalies that have played at least four games), and .927 save percentage.

He looks just like the goaltender that was a Vezina Trophy finalist for the first time in his career last season.

But, the Sharks will need Stalock to start at least eight to 10 games, provided Niemi stays healthy. The 26-year-old Minnesota native, who beat out Harri Sateri to earn the backup role in camp, has just three games of NHL experience but each of those was in relief of Niemi. In between his first and second appearances was a potentially career threatening nerve injury that sidelined him for approximately a full calendar year.