NHL Anaheim Ducks

Joe Thornton’s Sharks Down But Not Out

The last two playoff games between the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues have been a reminder of why the Sharks had to fight in order to just barely make the post-season.

Two games in a row were the Sharks down numerous goals and made a close but didn’t cut it last minute fight to win the game.

Monday night the Sharks were down 4-1 when they scored two goals late in the third period and came close to tying it up. The main player who fed the late game charge was team captain Joe Thornton with big assists on both goals to put them back in the game.

Last night the same situation re-occurred. San Jose was down 2-0 when Logan Couture sent the puck to Joe Thornton who lasered the puck passed the heavily screened Blues goalie Brian Elliott for the Sharks lone goal.

Thornton looks to be the key player here for San Jose in the playoffs right now. In the last two games Thornton has been involved in every point in the Sharks last minute push to victory. This can mean two things.

Either the Sharks captain isn’t trying hard enough throughout the whole game and needs to step up, or San Jose may be too reliant on their aging captain and needs their younger players to better follow through when an opportunity arises.

I would have to say it’s a combination of both options. Joe Thornton let’s face it isn’t as quick or even aggressive as he used to be. On the other hand he’s still the only player consistently putting points up for San Jose and needs some of his rising star teammates to take some of the work load off his shoulders.

My uncle who originally got me interested in the game of hockey as a child always says, “age and wisdom over youth and trickery.” As much as I may not want to say it since I am still in my youth this is true especially in the case of San Jose.

For example young star Logan Couture had a perfect breakaway opportunity and plenty of room to work with was stone walled by Elliott last night. Couture didn’t see results from any of his five shots last night and Joe Pavelski who struck out on all four of his shots also hasn’t notched one point in this whole series.

A single point was the difference in the last two games with late drives from the players of age and wisdom on the Sharks. 31-year old Martin Havlat leads the team with goals (2) and 32-year old Joe Thornton leads the team in points (4.)

Every game is a must-win situation for the Sharks now and it starts Saturday afternoon on the road where they have their only win of the series so far.