After having a limited impact against the Anaheim Ducks in the
2009 playoffs, Joe Thornton seemed to take his frustrations out
when the San Jose Sharks dominated the 2009-10 season series. The
San Jose captain also turned in quite a performance in his last
game to end another rut.
Thornton and the Sharks get their first look of the new season
at their Pacific Division rivals Saturday night when the Ducks
visit HP Pavilion.
San Jose (4-3-1) won the President’s Trophy two seasons ago
before falling in six games to Anaheim (4-6-1) in the first round
of the playoffs. Thornton was one of the major culprits for the
defeat with one goal and four assists in the series.
His six games against the Ducks last season were in total
contrast. Thornton amassed five goals and nine assists as the
Sharks went 5-1-0, with linemates Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau
combining for 12 points.
That top line, though, was going through a rough stretch to open
2010-11, and started Wednesday’s 5-2 victory over New Jersey on the
bench. When the unit got on the ice, it responded with 13
“I think they read the writing between the lines and responded,”
coach Todd McLellan said. “They’re a team of game-breakers who play
desperate. That was something we were waiting for from that line.
It was a really good display of leadership.”
Thornton notched his fourth career hat trick to end a five-game
goal drought and added two assists. Marleau and Heatley each had a
goal and three assists.
“Joe’s making a conscious effort to go to the net,” Marleau
said. “Our line did get off a lot of shots. We were having a lot of
fun out there, and this is something we can definitely build
The Sharks had also dropped their first three home games before
Wednesday’s win. They outscored the Ducks 12-4 in three home
victories last season.
“We’ll see if we can carry it over into a big game against
Anaheim on the weekend,” McLellan said.
Antero Niittymaki appears to have seized San Jose’s starting
goaltending job over another newcomer, Stanley Cup champion Antti
Niemi. Niittymaki is 3-0-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average while
Niemi is 1-3-0 with a 4.84 GAA.
Jason Blake scored a power-play goal and Jonas Hiller stopped 25
shots for Anaheim in Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Devils. The Ducks,
who were playing one home game after a four-game trip, now head
back on the road after a frustrating night.
“We’re not playing as well as we’re supposed to, and this was
almost a must-win,” said Hiller, who is 3-5-1 despite a .917 save
percentage. “We just couldn’t find a way. Every time you think
you’ve got it going, we play a game like tonight and lose again. It
would be great if we could get a little streak going, but it seems
like we go out there every night and no one knows what to
Anaheim leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf was held without a point for
only the second time in eight games. The Sharks held Getzlaf in
check last season, limiting him to three points in the six