Game Five Spark - Joe Thornton
The San Jose Sharks look to clinch their quarterfinals series tonight in Game 5 at 7:00pm (PST) at the SAP Center in San Jose. Please note all games will be carried LIVE locally on CSNCA-HD / 98.5-102.1 FM KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network.
On each game day, sjsharks.com will reveal a “Sharks SPARK”, as we will highlight a player we expect to be the Sharks difference maker in that evening’s game. – the player to lead the Sharks to the promise land (WIN!) that night.
With the use of stats, trends, quotes and instinct we will look into the future (that evening’s game) and predict the score along with the Sharks player that provides the winning SPARK! We welcome your predictions as well… so look into your crystal ball, magic eight ball, ask your pet, or look into the stars and make your prediction as to which player with SPARK the Sharks to victory in Game 5 over the Kings!
LOOKING BACK: (PAST SPARK NOMINATIONS)
Game 1 vs. Kings – PAVELSKI
Pavelski got things rolling in Game 1 for the Sharks as he had the primary assist on the first goal of the series scored by Joe Thornton. Pavs finished with an assist, +1, 2nd on the club with six hits, and won 62% of his face-offs in 19:34 of ice time in the Sharks 6-3 victory over the Kings in Game 1.
Game 2 vs. Kings – BURNS
The Sharks were down 2-0 after twenty minutes of play in Game 2. On the ice for the opening face-off in the second period, Burns fired two quality shots on Quick and threw a booming check on Drew Doughty in the first 20 seconds to get the SAP Center buzzing at the start of the middle frame. The Sharks ended up scoring seven consecutive goals for a 7-2 win over the Kings. #88 finished 2nd on the club with six hits, 2nd with two take aways, fired four shots on goal, received a matching roughing minor, and took the ice for 18:55 of action in the Game 2 victory.
Game 3 at Kings – NIETO
The Staples Center crowd was rocking after Marian Gaborik scored a beautiful goal at 7:59 of the second period to put the Kings ahead 2-1 – but then there was a Sharks SPARK. Rookie Matt Nieto deflected a Jason Demers shot past Jonathan Quick just 1:18 later to tie the score at 2-2 and swing the momentum back in favor of San Jose. Nieto finished Game 3 with his first playoff goal, two shots, three hits, and one blocked shot in 16:42 of ice time to SPARK the Sharks to a 4-3 win.
Game 4 at Kings – NIEMI
We knew the Kings would not go down without a fight. Antti Niemi made 21 saves on 26 shots in 40:03 of action in the Kings 6-3 win in Game 4 at the Staples Center. LA was buzzing throughout the game and Antti Niemi was pulled in favor of Alex Stalock after Marian Gaborik scored his 2nd goal of the game at 34 seconds of the third period to put the Kings ahead 5-2. The Kings were just too much to handle in the first elimination game of the series.
SHARKS GAME 5 SPARK – Joe Thornton
- The Sharks captain was 2nd among Sharks players in the regular season with 76 points (11-65-76) and had a +20 rating in 82 games.
- Jumbo ranked 2nd on the club with 42 points (7-35-42) and a team best 60.4 win percentage in face-offs in 41 home games this season.
- 2nd in the NHL with 65 assists and 13th in overall points (76) and was the Sharks PlayStation 3 Stars of the Year Award winner.
- Joe ranks 25th in assists on the NHL all-time time assists leader board with 852 assists in 1207 NHL games. – Thornton is 2nd amongst active players in assists; trailing only Jaromir Jagr.
- Ranks 2nd all-time in San Jose Sharks history with 82 points (18-64-82) in 94 Stanley Cup playoff games for the Sharks. – Joe has 129 games of experience in the NHL playoffs overall.
- Thornton has 12 points (5-7-12) in 17 career playoff games vs. the Kings.
- #19 has three points (2-1-3) and 11 shots through the first four games of this series vs. the Kings.
TRENDS / COINCIDENCES??
The last time the San Jose Sharks eliminated the LA Kings from the Stanley Cup playoffs – was on April 25, 2011 in Game 6. Joe Thornton had the game winning goal in overtime past Jonathan Quick in the Sharks 6-5 overtime victory in LA. Jumbo also had the game winner in Game 4 in that 2011 series which the Sharks won four games to two.
The home team in the Western Conference is 16-2 so far in the Stanley Cup playoffs – the trend is your friend!
The Sharks are 0-5 in their last five Game 5’s in the playoffs… they are DUE for a Game 5 win! (reverse their trend!)
LA Kings head coach Darryl Sutter:
“I don't think there's any momentum from game to game other than to try and play the same way. We're going into the cage. Cages are a good thing."
TRANSLATION – The Kings will tooth and claw their way through Game 5 – the Sharks better be ready!
Joe Thornton after the Game 4 loss in LA:
“We showed a lot of fight (in Game 4). Now it is time to go home and do our job. Our power play looked dangerous all night – which was a positive thing for us…. Now we have to go home in front of our fans and finish this thing off.”
TRANSLATION – Joe would like some rest before round 2 – the Sharks want to win this “thing” tonight!
GAME 5 PREDICTION: (Captain Knows Best)
The Sharks veteran captain knows how difficult it is to close out an opponent in the Stlaney Cup playoffs as the Sharks have the opportunity again in Game 5 at the SAP Center on Saturday night. Not to look to far ahead, but with the Stars and the Ducks battling it out in a series that looks like could go seven games…the Sharks would love some rest headed into Round 2 of the playoffs (the series vs. the Kings has already seen 385 total hits through four games!). Look for Thornton to have a jumbo game on home ice with a strong hand in the face-off circle and will lead by example to SPARK the Sharks to a series clinching 4-3 victory in Game 5!
WHO IS YOUR GAME 5 SPARK?
What is your prediction for Game 5? Who do you think will SPARK the Sharks to a Game 5 victory over the Kings? Join the conversation below…. #SharksSparkPrediction