May 24, 2011SHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEO
GAME 5 PREVIEW SERIES SCHEDULE
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Say its so, Joe.
The Sharks are facing eliminating, trailing the Canucks, 3-1 in this Western Conference finals series.
I felt fine out there and Im ready; Im 100 percent, Thornton said, adding there was never any question of not playing, and that there were no limitations to what he can do against the Canucks.
For the record, Thornton did not take any slap shots at the morning skate, usually a tipoff of a shoulder injury.
What would it take to keep him out?
Well, Im sure theres quite a few injuries, but this isnt one of them, Thornton said. Whatever it is, it is fine, today.
On Monday, some of the Sharks suggested they might play better in this game if they can relax a little bit.
Perhaps we can just lay it on the line, go out and play, coach Todd McLellan said. We know there's only two options: play on or move on. We're aware of that. We can go out, lay it all on the line. We expect to do that. We want to empty the tank here, not worry about what happens after that.
Plus past experiences. We were here two weeks ago with Detroit. On the other side of the coin, when we were the 31 team, you could tell that Detroit's goal was to bring it back to Detroit. They believed they could win Game 6 there. They were hanging their hat on it and they did it. All of a sudden the pressure turned.
It's about us having a good, honest effort tonight. We'll worry about Game 6 if we get there.
You can assume Vancouver will be targeting Thorntons shoulder.
I dont think well really focus on his shoulder too much, said defenseman Kevin Bieka, one of the hardest-hitting Canucks. Hes a pretty hard guy to hit as it is. Hes pretty slippery.
For me, if I get a chance to put him through the boards I do that, regardless of if hes got a sore shoulder or not. If dont get a chance, I dont chase it.
Thorntons teammates werent surprised to hear hes playing.
I cant ever remember him missing a game because of injury, Douglas Murray said. And hes had his fair share of injuries. Hes been as effective playing with them. Hell be fine and its a huge boost for the team. We have to feed off that.
Added Ryane Clowe: I think he has the ability to play well even if he is nicked up a little bit. Dont expect much different from Joe. The guys expect him to be in there every night. He has been since Ive been here. I think they only games hes missed is when hes been suspended. Hes a horse.
A number of players on both teams are nicked up. Sharks defenseman Jason Demers, who missed all four games of the series with a mysterious upper body injury, is expected to play tonight.
Theres a lot of guys playing with pain, Dan Boyle said. Lets not forget that.
Hes the captain and hes got to go out there and be there with the rest of the guys and play through it, Boyle said. Hell be fine. Thats the way it is in the playoffs. You play through that stuff.
Not a lot needs to be said about what this game means. No speeches?
Maybe a little bit but all the guys realize that if you dont win tonight, you go home, Thornton said. Thats the reality of it. So I think everybody realizes this is a must win game and thats how were going to take it.
Its a Game 7 mentality. Again.
I dont think much needs to be said, Boyle said. It is what it is. You got to win to stay in ... Its not like we cant beat this team. We can. We will. You just need a solid performance from everybody. Everybody needs to show up. We cant have a couple passengers. We need everybody.
If the Sharks are to stay alive, they need to improve in a lot of areas, most notably, on special teams and self-discipline.
Stay out of the box would be first, Thornton said. Just compete. Just do the things weve done all season. We do that, theres a good chance to take this back to San Jose. Just stay out of the box, compete and score some goals.
Tim Panaccio is the NHL Insider for CSNPhilly.com E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org