Thornton trick a treat for the Sharks
San Jose struggled at home this season, and entered Wednesday night’s game still searching for the first home victory of the season. Thornton made sure the fans would get their win.
Thornton’s goal at 9:57 of the first period put the Sharks ahead of the Devils, 1-0.
The play began with a turnover in the Devils zone. Dany Heatley scooped up the loose puck at the point, and sent a pass to Thornton in the right circle. The center’s shot deflected off of Devils’ defenseman Matt Taormina‘s stick, and the puck beat Martin Brodeur stick side for his third goal of the year.
Thornton’s second goal of the game, at 18:59 of the first period extended the Sharks lead to 3-0.
Marleau put a shot on net from the side boards that Brodeur should have stopped. But the Devils goalie was tangled with Thornton, who crashed the net, and the big center poked home the puck for his fourth goal of the season.
Thornton’s third goal of the night, a powerplay tally, came at 16:55 of the second period.
After the Devils benefitted from a awkward bounce from the boards, the Sharks received one of their own. After trying to clear it around the boards, Brodeur went behind the net, expecting the puck to come behind. But it bounced off the end boards and went to the front of the net, where Thornton came crashing down. The center fired the puck past a diving Henrik Tallinder for his fifth goal of the season.
The Thorton Line gets it going
It wasn’t only Thornton lighting the lamp in the Sharks victory. Patrick Marleau collected four points (one goal, three assists), including his 700th career NHL point after assisting on Thornton’s first goal of the night. Heatley also collected four points (one goal, three assists) on the night. In total, the Thornton Line had 13 points tonight. That’s almost as many goals the Devils have scored this season.
Brodeur told Rich Chere of the Star Ledger it looked like the Thornton Line was “playing against kids.” He wasn’t wrong.
Brodeur does all he can
There are some nights where Brodeur seems superhuman. Even if he gave one of those efforts tonight, it wouldn’t have been enough for the Devils. Brodeur faced 39 shots tonight – his second consecutive game of 30-plus shots – and made 34 difficult saves. The Sharks got a fluke goal and a soft score, but Brodeur was the usual rock in the net. But when the defense gives Brodeur no support, there’s only so much he can do.
Continue reading after the jump for the rest of the recap.
The Devils defense is miserable. That’s about the only way to describe their play right now. Opponents have outscored the Devils, 14-4, in their last three losses. Nobody could slow down the scorers for the Sharks tonight. Talented as they may be, there’s no way one line should total 13 points in a game. There’s no more excuses for this unit. Their effort in the past three games has been worse than poor. It’s been almost non-existent. Anton Volchenkovand Bryce Salvador are hurt, but that’s no excuse. Larry Robinson needs to sit those defenseman down and get them on the same page.
David Clarkson finally found the back of the net. Clarkson had 29 shots before he scored that goal.
Andy Greene scored the Devils’ first road powerplay goal after going 0-for-19 to start the season. It was the team’s third powerplay goal of the season. Welcome to the Devils special teams, folks.
Jacob Josefson had another good game tonight. The young man is due for a goal, and maybe he’ll break out soon.
The Devils are off tomorrow before traveling to Anaheim to face the Ducks on Friday night.
Photo Credits: Paul Sakuma/AP Photo