After being down 4-1 in the third period the game seemed to be over for the San Jose Sharks last night.
The St. Louis Blues headed on to the ice to start the third period with a 3-1 lead. Then not even a minute into the period the Blues Alexander Steen scored to make it 4-1. As time went on the Sharks seemed to be giving up and the Blues were relaxing too.
The aggression wasn’t there anymore. There wasn’t any constant big hitting, scrums or mouthing off. A shark could skate up the boards with his back to an opponent then make a pass and not get rocked after.
Then Sharks defenseman Colin White nails a slap shot into the net to put the Sharks back in the game with almost three minutes left in the game.
With time winding down Sharks captain Joe Thornton skates the puck around and behind the net, passes the puck to the middle where Patrick Marleau swings and misses the puck completely but Logan Couture was right behind him to send it in top shelf away from Blues goaltender Brian Elliott.
Questions about the clock and a timeout gave the Sharks plenty of time to think up a plan and recharge their batteries with 19 seconds remaining but they lost to the Blues 4-3.
It was a still positive turnaround for them though. The Joe Thornton of the regular season showed up notching in assists on all three of the San Jose goals. He hadn’t put up a single point yet this series but maybe last night was their return of the captain that the Sharks so desperately need to set up their plays.
Joe Thornton is definitely not one of the faster skaters on the team or a big goal scorer but he’s got couple key components that make him key to a Sharks victory.
One word describes Thornton best. Size. Thornton is a big forward at 6’4” and 230 pounds. He looks like he can skate down the boards comfortably without much of a worry about losing the puck. He has a long reach and can control the puck with near perfect precision.
He can also take hits from almost any player on the game while he’s holding the puck and still have a good chance of still having it in his possession.
These skills make opponents more driven to try shutting Thornton down. Then they become too focused on going after or covering Thornton that they pull themselves out of position and Thornton will set someone up either in the middle or likely open on the other side of the net.
He’s strong, smart and going to be the reason San Jose can take on St. Louis to the fullest extent as long as he can keep playing like he did last night.
Though a loss is nothing to be happy about it is still a large confidence booster and stronger sign of hope than when they lost 3-0 the game previously.