May 22, 2013, 2:59 AM EDT
Joe Thornton has been criticized for his past playoff performances.
There wasn’t much, if anything, to blast about Thornton’s game Tuesday, as the San Jose Sharks defeated the L.A. Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal, to even the series at two-games apiece.
Thornton, 33, was a force throughout Tuesday’s game, but particularly in the opening period, when the Sharks outplayed their Californian rivals from L.A, grabbing the lead in the process.
Thornton set up Brent Burns for the first goal of the game, on a slick feed from below the goal line. He had over 19 minutes in ice time and was 12-for-18 in the faceoff circle.
“He was really good in the first period,” Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle told the San Jose Mercury News. “I think that was our team’s best period, and he was dominant out there in the first.
“There’s only so much other teams can do against a guy like that when he’s playing that way.”
So far in these playoffs, Thornton has nine points in eight playoff games.
He was a difference early on in a huge win for the Sharks.
“Joe was dominant tonight,” Sharks center Logan Couture told NHL.com.
“That was vintage Joe Thornton. Unbelievable – creating turnovers, making passes, skating. Skating like a young guy. He was flying. Me personally, got me going. We need Joe to play like that for the rest of the playoffs.”
- Getzlaf powers Ducks to Game 2 victory, 2-0 series lead over Stars 0
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind 64
- Detroit stuns favored Bruins with late goal to take Game 1 34
- Crashing Lightning: Montreal crushes Tampa Bay, takes 2-0 series lead 6
- Quenneville gets $25,000 fine for ‘bush-league move’ 12
- NHL looking into Quenneville’s ‘grabby’ gesture from Game 1 41
- Getzlaf to play Game 2, looks awful 20
- Video: PHT Extra — can Detroit exploit Boston’s blueline? 13
- Sharks go on the attack, defeat Kings in Game 1 16
- Avalanche win in OT, complete third-period comeback 63