for this game

Thornton powers Sharks past Maple Leafs, former coach

Dec 3, 2008 - 7:44 AM
By Michael Duca PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Joe Thornton made Ron Wilson's return to San Jose extremely unpleasant.

Thornton recorded a goal and three assists in the first period, powering the San Jose Sharks to a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

The veteran center's outburst was his first four-point game since March 3, when he scored two goals and set up two others en route to a 6-4 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens. Thornton set a career high in points when he registered five assists against the Florida Panthers on December 28, 2001 while a member of the Boston Bruins.

"You've got to get lucky to get that many points in a period," Thornton said. "It's very rare. I don't know why I didn't end up with more. You'd think I would end up with more."

Devin Setoguchi and defensemen Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic - who converted during a power play - also scored in the first period. Joe Pavelski added a shorthanded tally in the third as the Sharks posted their eighth straight win.

The victory gave San Jose 21 victories in its first 25 games, making it the first team in NHL history to accomplish that feat.

"There's no doubt that's a great thing," Boyle said. "I think the most impressive thing that I've noticed - you could see it tonight - it's not like we're jumping for joy. We are pretty focused on the big picture here.

"Obviously, it's a great start, and when it's all said and done, we can look back and appreciate it, but this time is just the start of a season. There's a lot bigger and better things to come."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan took the milestone in stride.

"Obviously, the record is something we're proud of and we're pleased with, but it is about the process, about the full 60-minute effort," he said. "We had pretty good efforts for the most part tonight but not consistent enough to be a team that can win at the end (of the season)."

Now the Maple Leafs' coach, Wilson did not fare well in his return to HP Pavilion, where he spent parts of the previous five campaigns behind the bench for the Sharks before being fired this past offseason.

"(A win) wouldn't have made my season or anything like that," Wilson said. "I've coached 1,100 and whatever games, and it is one game on the schedule. Sure you'd like to do better than we did tonight, but what are you going to do?

"If we somehow could have survived maybe the first 10 minutes of the game, I think we would have found our equilibrium. But it was over. That was one where you throw the white towel in from the corner in a boxing match."

Rookie Nikolai Kulemin netted his fifth goal of the season, Niklas Hagman scored in the final minute of the third period and added an assist and Mikhail Grabovski set up both tallies for Toronto, which fell to 2-4-2 in its last eight games.

Thornton wasted no time getting on the scoresheet, logging an assist on the first goal just 75 seconds into the contest.

He took control of the puck just over the blue line and flipped it to Setoguchi, who was streaking into the offensive zone. Setoguchi skated in and backhanded a shot from the left faceoff circle that beat goaltender Vesa Toskala, who finished with 25 saves.

The 21-year-old Setoguchi, who also notched an assist, has recorded 12 goals and 29 points in 25 games this season. Last campaign, his first in the NHL, he registered 11 tallies and 17 points in 44 contests.

"I felt a little jump just to go in there and play the best I could," Setoguchi said. "We didn't change the game plan, we just played the way we could. I think there was just a little more motivation to beat (Wilson) tonight.

"You don't want Ron bragging. Everyone knows Ron Wilson, and he gets bragging rights if they beat us. We wish Ron and the coaching staff best of luck and we have a lot of respect for those guys."

Thornton doubled the lead 5:20 later, when the Sharks got a sixth attacker onto the ice and maintained control of the puck with a delayed penalty against the Maple Leafs pending.

A shot sailed over the right shoulder of Toskala and hit the glass behind the net. The puck bounced back, deflected off the crossbar and fell into the crease, where Thornton jammed it in for his seventh goal of the season.

San Jose took a 3-0 lead with 4:01 remaining in the opening session, when captain Patrick Marleau centered a pass to Boyle, who wristed a shot from the slot past Toskala for his ninth tally.

"They are a very skilled team," said Toskala, a former Shark. "They don't just throw the puck on the net, they move it around and have a plan for getting it to the net."

With Toronto defenseman Jeff Finger in the penalty box for holding the stick, San Jose rolled out its power play and scored 42 seconds into the advantage to increase the bulge to 4-0. Thornton backhanded a pass through the crease to Vlasic, who put it into an open net with 2:53 remaining in the period.

"I heard Joe say that pass was meant for Patty (Marleau)," Vlasic said. "But I thought it was for me, even though Joe couldn't see me. He's so good, you just expect that from him."

Toronto got on the board at 9:10 of the second. Kulemin retrieved a deflected puck on the right doorstep and wristed it over netminder Evgeni Nabokov, who stopped 29 shots.

San Jose sealed the win four minutes into the third.

With the Maple Leafs on a power play, defenseman Tomas Kaberle fell at the blue line while attempting to control the puck, allowing Pavelski and Milan Michalek to skate down on a 2-on-1 rush. Pavelski kept the puck and flipped a wrist shot over Toskala's right shoulder for his 11th goal and a 5-1 cushion.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 1 1 2
    SAN JOSE 4 0 1 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - DEVIN SETOGUCHI 13 (JOE THORNTON, ROB BLAKE) 1:15
    SAN - JOE THORNTON 7 (JOE PAVELSKI, PATRICK MARLEAU) 6:35
    SAN - DAN BOYLE 9 (PATRICK MARLEAU, JOE THORNTON) 15:59
    SAN - (PP) MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC 3 (JOE THORNTON,

    Dec 3 12:56 AM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    SAN JOSE 5
    3RD PRD: TOR - NIKLAS HAGMAN 8 (NIK ANTROPOV, MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI) 19:28

    Maple Leafs 2, Sharks 5  3rd - 0:32Dec 3 12:52 AM
  • 10
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Maple Leafs 1, Sharks 5  3rd - 3:20Dec 3 12:51 AM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    SAN JOSE 5
    3RD PRD: SAN - (SH) JOE PAVELSKI 11 (MILAN MICHALEK) 4:00

    Maple Leafs 1, Sharks 5  3rd - 16:00Dec 3 12:27 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 1 1
    SAN JOSE 4 0 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - DEVIN SETOGUCHI 13 (JOE THORNTON, ROB BLAKE) 1:15
    SAN - JOE THORNTON 7 (JOE PAVELSKI, PATRICK MARLEAU) 6:35
    SAN - DAN BOYLE 9 (PATRICK MARLEAU, JOE THORNTON) 15:59
    SAN - (PP) MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC 3 (

    Dec 3 12:04 AM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    SAN JOSE 4
    2ND PRD: TOR - NIKOLAI KULEMIN 5 (NIKLAS HAGMAN, RYAN HOLLWEG) 9:10

    Maple Leafs 1, Sharks 4  2nd - 10:50Dec 2 11:45 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0
    SAN JOSE 4 4 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: SAN - DEVIN SETOGUCHI 13 (JOE THORNTON, ROB BLAKE) 1:15
    SAN - JOE THORNTON 7 (JOE PAVELSKI, PATRICK MARLEAU) 6:35
    SAN - DAN BOYLE 9 (PATRICK MARLEAU, JOE THORNTON) 15:59
    SAN - (PP) MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC 3 (

    Dec 2 11:13 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    SAN JOSE 4
    1ST PRD: SAN - (PP) MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC 3 (JOE THORNTON, DEVIN
    SETOGUCHI) 17:07

    Maple Leafs 0, Sharks 4  1st - 2:53Dec 2 11:09 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    SAN JOSE 3
    1ST PRD: SAN - DAN BOYLE 9 (PATRICK MARLEAU, JOE THORNTON) 15:59

    Maple Leafs 0, Sharks 3  1st - 4:01Dec 2 11:07 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    SAN JOSE 2
    1ST PRD: SAN - JOE THORNTON 7 (JOE PAVELSKI, PATRICK MARLEAU) 6:35

    Maple Leafs 0, Sharks 2  1st - 13:25Dec 2 10:48 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    SAN JOSE 1
    1ST PRD: SAN - DEVIN SETOGUCHI 13 (JOE THORNTON, ROB BLAKE) 1:15

    Maple Leafs 0, Sharks 1  1st - 18:45Dec 2 10:41 PM