SAN JOSE – Joe Thornton made his 2017 playoff debut on Sunday at SAP Center in Game 3 of the Sharks’ first round series with Edmonton.
Thornton missed the final three games of the regular season and first two games of the playoffs with an apparent left knee injury suffered on April 2 in Vancouver. After going through his normal game day routine on Sunday morning in which he skated for approximately 15 minutes, Thornton returned to the Sharks’ top line with Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson.
In 156 career playoff games entering Sunday, Thornton has 121 points (27g, 94a) and a minus-25 rating. In 79 games in the regular season, the 37-year-old had 50 points (7g, 43a) and a plus-seven rating.
To make way for Thornton, forward Mikkel Boedker was a healthy scratch. Boedker, who signed a four-year contract with the Sharks in the offseason, was scoreless with a minus-one rating in the first two games.
Also of note was that Logan Couture, who suffered severe damage to his mouth on March 25, ditched the full cage he had been wearing through the first two games of the series. The second line center returned for Game 1 after he missed the final seven games of the regular season, and will require extensive dental work in the offseason.
Couture skated on the second line between Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward, while the third line was Tomas Hertl with wingers Jannik Hansen and Joonas Donskoi. Chris Tierney centered a fourth line between rookies Timo Meier and Marcus Sorensen.