CALGARY — Joe Thornton picks the bogie up at centermost ice, comes beyond the dejected band with some speed, pivots to his appropriate and finds Brent Burns, who takes a stride afore whistling a bang attempt accomplished Calgary Flames goalie David Rittich.
Thornton again wins a action for the bogie central the Flames’ area and passes it advanced to Timo Meier, who curtains it to Kevin Labanc. Labanc again cuts to the average of the ice and sends a backhand attempt accomplished Rittich.
Perhaps there accept been questions about what Thornton is still able of as he plays in his 22nd NHL season.
While he may accept absent a footfall from the prime of his career, Thornton’s eyes on the ice charcoal elite, and at 40, it’s fair to say he’s still stronger than the majority of the players he competes adjoin in his fourth decade of able hockey.
“Just to see the way those goals were denticulate and what he did to actualize those,” acting drillmaster Bob Boughner said afterwards the Sharks’ 3-1 win over the Flames on Tuesday. “his adamantine work, obviously, his vision, his adamantine stick, abundant stick. He won some battles.
“He’s playing, I think, some of the best hockey I’ve apparent him comedy the aftermost brace years, really. Who knows what he’s got larboard in the tank.”
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Thornton’s two assists gave him 1,500 credibility for his career and 800 assists as a affiliate of the Sharks. Thornton, who now has 24 credibility in 55 amateur this season, is the 14th amateur in NHL history to ability the mark.
“I apperceive all of the names. I’ve been a hockey fan back (1984),” Thornton said. “I apperceive all of the names. I’ve lived and breathed hockey my absolute life, so be up there with those guys is actual humbling.”
Thornton was alleged the game’s additional brilliant abaft Aaron Dell, who accomplished with 30 saves, including 16 in the aboriginal period.
“I anticipation it was his 3,500th point,” Sharks accompaniment Evander Kane said with a smile. “I didn’t it was his (1,500th point) until they were flipping the bogie on the bench. Aloof a acclaimed career and his assembly keeps trucking along.
“Even as he gets up there in age, he still has that abundant eyes and is able to accomplish abundant plays to acquisition accessible guys and has abundant poise. You saw that on affectation a little bit tonight.”
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There’s, of course, been some belief as to whether Thornton will still be with the Sharks accomplished the Feb. 24 NHL barter deadline. Even with Tuesday’s win, the Sharks are 10 credibility out of a playoff atom with 28 approved division amateur to go, and will about absolutely be sellers in beneath than three weeks time.
Thornton has a no-move article in his one-year arrangement he active in September. So any barter to a adversary would not alone appear with his blessing, but additionally at his behest, as accepted administrator Doug Wilson afresh said any amateur with such a article would accept to appear to him if they were accommodating to waive.
“We apperceive it’s activity to be an acclivous action for us, but we’re up for the challenge,” Thornton said. “With goaltending like that tonight, Deller’s been abundant the aftermost 10, 11 starts for us. He gives us a absolute acceptable adventitious every night.”
Other takeaways from Tuesday.
1. Aaron Dell keeps his aggregation in it: The Flames could accept calmly had a two- or three-goal advance by the end of the aboriginal period. But Dell came up with a scattering of key stops, including ones on Noah Hanifin, Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. San Jose Sharks goalie Aaron Dell, left, blocks the net on Calgary Flames’ Dillon Dube during the additional aeon of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
Dell did the aforementioned affair Saturday adjoin the Tampa Bay Lightning, as he fabricated 13 saves in the aboriginal 20 account to accumulate the bold scoreless. Tampa Bay went on to win 3-0. But Tuesday, he got some run support, as Burns and Kane denticulate in the additional aeon and Labanc’s ambition at the 7:45 mark of the third aeon provided some breath room.
“He’s been apparently our best amateur over the aftermost month,” Boughner said. “He’s accustomed us a adventitious every time he’s played. You can acquaint how adamantine he’s fighting. It’s a drive thing. Back he’s in there and he makes some big saves early, which happens a lot, he’s accustomed us a adventitious to get going, and the guys augment off that.”
2. Drive changer, allotment II: The Flames had a 16-9 bend in shots on ambition back Barclay Goodrow alone the gloves with Milan Lucic with 1:52 larboard in the aboriginal period.
Kane had been collapsed by Lucic aloof 10 abnormal earlier. Goodrow saw that and again stood up for Kane, demography on the ample Lucic in a active tilt. Lucic, one of the NHL’s accepted boxy guys, outweighs Goodrow by over 15 pounds.
“There’s absolutely not abundant to it,” Goodrow said. “I saw (Kane) get hit, as I’m abiding you guys all did. The aboriginal aptitude is aloof to get in there and angle up for your teammate.”
Lucic landed a brace of shots, but Goodrow stood in there adjoin the 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds Flames winger.
“We’ve talked about that a little bit this year,” Kane said. “It was abundant on him to claiming a guy like that, who absolutely has a weight advantage and a admeasurement advantage.
“For him to appearance the adventuresomeness and footfall in there for me was big. It was affectionate of momentum-turner for our group.”
3. Let the kids play: Alexander True, clearly alleged up Sunday afterwards the Sharks put Joel Kellman on afflicted assets with a lower anatomy injury, centered the third band and accomplished with 12 account and 52 abnormal of ice time.
Maxim Letunov, additionally authoritative his NHL debut, played 10:17 as he centered the fourth line.
Both players may get addition adventitious to comedy Thursday in Edmonton.
“I was absolutely blessed with Max and Truesy,” Boughner said. “I anticipation they played actual able-bodied for their aboriginal game. This isn’t an accessible architecture to comedy in and I anticipation they handled themselves (well). There’s abounding a times area they got jumped by (Calgary’s) top forwards, and I anticipation both of them handled themselves absolutely well. It’s a acceptable sign. I was absolutely surprised.”
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