for this game

Thornton scores twice to lift Sharks past Avalanche

Dec 1, 2007 - 7:45 AM
By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- The San Jose Sharks were desperate for a win after losing their last three games, two of which came in a shootout. Joe Thornton made sure they got it.

Thornton scored two goals and set up another while Milan Michalek added two assists as the Sharks claimed a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.

It was the second two-goal game of the season for Thornton, who has tallied five times in his last seven contests.

"Joe was unbelievable, he was a force out there," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "He's physical making plays and he's made a decision he's going to shoot more, and he's got to score, just not look to pass. That'll open up some of his playmaking ability, too, because (other teams) will have to worry about him shooting."

Thornton, the team's leading scorer with 11 goals and 28 points, helped the Sharks snap their three-game losing streak and pick up just their fourth win at home this season.

"I thought we played pretty well for the whole 60 minutes," Thornton said. "We stuck with it and Nabby (goaltender Evgeni Nabokov) made the big saves when we needed him. It was a big win knowing we have to go on the road the next three games."

San Jose took advantage of an early power play to take a 1-0 lead just 1:52 into the first period.

Colorado's Milan Hejduk was battling San Jose defenseman Matt Carle for the puck along the left wing boards. Hejduk flipped it out toward the blue line, but Michalek took control before making a cross-ice pass to the crease, where Thornton was waiting.

The veteran center simply wristed it between the legs of goaltender Peter Budaj for the game's first tally.

"He made good plays today," Budaj said of Thornton. "He's playing great right now, and we knew that coming into the game. He made us pay, especially the first goal. (He scored) the second goal and he passed for the third one, so he was in on all three goals. He's their playmaker."

San Jose cashed in on another power play early in the second to double its lead.

Off the faceoff, Michalek passed the puck to Thornton in the bottom of the right faceoff circle. After a slight hesitation that caused Budaj to move to his right, Thornton ripped a shot without looking at the net that beat the goalie at 4:42, giving the Sharks a 2-0 bulge.

"If you want to score, you have to shoot," Thornton said. "That is pretty much what I did on those two goals - I saw the net and shot at it. When you have a good eye for the net, you have to keep shooting, and things are going in for me right now."

San Jose finished 2-for-5 with the man advantage after entering the night ranked 26th in the NHL in power-play goals at home.

"Our power play was great, but it could have been 5-, 6- or 7-0 at one point in the game, and (Colorado) ended up with two breaks that got them goals," Wilson said.

The Avalanche halved the deficit with a shorthanded goal later in the session.

Sharks defenseman Craig Rivet mishandled the puck at the right point, allowing Paul Stastny to go around him and down the left wing. Despite being hooked from behind by Rivet, Stastny was able to get the puck to Hejduk, who buried it from the right of the crease with 3:35 remaining.

The Sharks quickly made up for the mistake less than two minutes later. Thornton skated down the left wing and, from the bottom of the left circle, attempted a pass.

The puck deflected off defenseman John-Michael Liles before hitting Mike Grier's skate and entering the net at 18:02. After the play was reviewed, it was determined that Grier made no attempt to guide the puck in, allowing the goal to stand for a 3-1 advantage.

"It's a pass across, it's a tough situation," Liles said. "It hit my stick. I knocked it backwards and it went off his skate. There's nothing you can do about that. I'm trying to clear the puck as best as I can and just keep it off his stick, and it's one of those things where it hits his skate. It's a tough break."

The Avalanche answered with 28.2 seconds remaining in the period and Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff in the penalty box for interference.

Andrew Brunette had the puck just below the right circle and attempted a centering pass. But with his back to the net, San Jose blue-liner Kyle McLaren had the puck carom off his left skate and past Nabokov, drawing Colorado within a goal.

"I thought we fought back and we battled there and we came at them in the third and had some opportunities," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "We withstood their onslaught in the first 10 minutes, we got ourselves back in the game. We got a couple of timely power-play goals, but certainly they played hard.

"I didn't say we didn't play hard, but certainly playing catch-up all night was challenging."

Nabokov, who finished with 18 saves, made the slim lead stand, turning aside all six shots he faced in the third period.

"Joe, along with Nabby, has given us a chance to win each and every night," Rivet said. "He's just playing fantastic for us, making big saves at key moments. I can't say enough about those two guys."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 2 0 2
    SAN JOSE 1 2 0 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) JOE THORNTON 10 (MILAN MICHALEK) 1:52
    2ND PRD: SAN - (PP) JOE THORNTON 11 (MILAN MICHALEK, SANDIS OZOLINSH)
    4:42
    COL - (SH) MILAN HEJDUK 8 (PAUL STASTNY) 16:25
    SAN - MIKE GRIER 3 (JOE THORNTON, KYLE MCLAREN

    Dec 1 1:00 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 2 2
    SAN JOSE 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) JOE THORNTON 10 (MILAN MICHALEK) 1:52
    2ND PRD: SAN - (PP) JOE THORNTON 11 (MILAN MICHALEK, SANDIS OZOLINSH)
    4:42
    COL - (SH) MILAN HEJDUK 8 (PAUL STASTNY) 16:25
    SAN - MIKE GRIER 3 (JOE THORNTON,

    Dec 1 12:26 AM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    SAN JOSE 3
    2ND PRD: COL - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 4 (JOE SAKIC, PAUL STASTNY) 19:31

    Avalanche vs. SharksDec 1 12:10 AM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    SAN JOSE 3
    2ND PRD: SAN - MIKE GRIER 3 (JOE THORNTON, KYLE MCLAREN) 18:02

    Avalanche vs. SharksDec 1 12:06 AM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    SAN JOSE 2
    2ND PRD: COL - (SH) MILAN HEJDUK 8 (PAUL STASTNY) 16:25

    Avalanche vs. SharksDec 1 12:01 AM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 0
    SAN JOSE 2
    2ND PRD: SAN - (PP) JOE THORNTON 11 (MILAN MICHALEK, SANDIS OZOLINSH)
    4:42

    Avalanche vs. SharksNov 30 11:38 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 0
    SAN JOSE 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) JOE THORNTON 10 (MILAN MICHALEK) 1:52
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COL 7 7
    SAN 10 10
    GOALIES: COL - PETER BUDAJ
    SAN - EVGENI

    Nov 30 11:10 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 0
    SAN JOSE 1
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) JOE THORNTON 10 (MILAN MICHALEK) 1:52

    Avalanche vs. SharksNov 30 10:43 PM
  • 5
    roots
    sargeoff Added 5 roots

    Avalanche vs. SharksNov 30 10:36 AM