The San Jose Sharks are locked in a tight Western Conference semifinal series with the Vegas Golden Knights. San Jose trails the expansion club two games to one in the best-of-seven series. Sharks’ forward Joe Thornton has been missing from the lineup for all of the postseason thus far.
However, the Sharks could get a big boost if the veteran centre returns to the lineup. Thornton was taking line rushes during morning practice. All signs point to Thornton playing his first game since Jan. 23.
#SJSharks Joe Thornton on top line in rushes at am skate
— Paul Gackle (@GackleReport) May 2, 2018
Joe Thornton Practices with Sharks
Thornton has suffered from knee problems for the last couple of seasons, including a couple of ligament tears in his left knee. However, the problem was in his right knee this time around.
Thornton has only played in 47 games this season scoring 13 goals with 23 assists for 46 points. He’s also added 38 penalty minutes. Thornton has a Corsi for of 54.4 percent and a relative Corsi of 3.4.
Over his 13-year career, Thornton has scored 397 goals and dished out 1,030 assists for 1,427 points. He has played for the Boston Bruins and the Sharks. The Boston Bruins drafted Thornton first overall in the 1997 NHL draft.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer remained mum on the status of Thornton and defenseman Joakim Ryan. He said they were game-time decisions. Thornton said that nothing has changed in his playing status. That said it could be a smokescreen.
What It Means For the Future
Thornton’s return would be huge for the Sharks. He’s one of the better players in the league at winning face-offs and an outstanding passer. He’s two years removed from a great postseason where he scored three goals and handed out 18 assists as San Jose reached the Stanley Cup Final.
Thornton also brings a world of playoff experience to the Sharks, who need a victory to even up the series. Puck drops for game four tonight at 7 pm.
Embed from Getty Images