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.”
- Everything happens: Ovechkin nails Tavares, Isles score 0
- WATCH LIVE: Today’s Stanley Cup playoff action 6
- Lucic issues statement on father’s passing 9
- Hall caught off guard by Oilers’ front office shuffle 16
- Wild’s Dubnyk shakes off six-goal night, saves 36 as Blues pushed to brink 32
- WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action 5
- Malkin: ‘I want to say sorry to fans, to my teammates’ 55
- It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime 105
- Sens’ Anderson continues to haunt Habs, forces Game 6 12
- Price, Dubnyk, Rinne are Vezina Trophy finalists 16
- Of course they did: Oilers win 2015 NHL Draft Lottery, will select first overall (174)
- Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead (114)
- It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime (105)
- Eichel understands Murray’s disappointment, but ‘extreme competitor’ has ‘a lot to offer’ (98)
- Bettman under fire after saying ‘Katy Perry’ chant wasn’t sexist (91)