DALLAS — On a night where Joe Thornton reached a major milestone, the Dallas Stars played the role of party poopers, blowing out all 1,500 of the candles on his cake.
Thornton, 39, became the 19th player to reach the 1,500 game plateau Thursday, a list led by Gordie Howe (1,767), Mark Messier (1,756) and Jaromir Jagr (1733). Among active players, only Patrick Marleau (1,590), Thornton’s teammate for 12 years, has played more games. The Stars honored Thornton by showing a video montage of his highlights on the cube and he received a standing ovation from the visiting crowd, showing just how well-respected he is across the league.
Unfortunately, the Sharks failed to get Thornton a win, dropping a 4-3 decision in a pond-hockey game with the high-flying Stars.
Here’s what we learned as the Sharks (8-5-3) lost just their second regulation game in 10 tries in the Lone Star State:
1. Oh so close for Joe.
Hairs stood up on necks across Sharks territory Thursday as Thornton skated in all alone on Stars netminder Anton Khudobin with a chance to tie the game and just 1:02 left on the clock.
What better way to celebrate game No. 1,500 than to tie it up by scoring goal No. 400 with the extra attacker on the ice? But Khudobin closed the book on the near-fairytale ending by squeezing his pads together as Thornton tried to slip the puck through his legs.
“Oh man,” Thornton said. “I dialed in five hole the whole way. I’d like to have it back, but you can’t.”
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Earlier in the game, the Sharks climbed out of a 3-1 hole off Joe Pavelski’s seventh goal and Evander Kane’s first tally in 12 games. But a blocked shot found the tape of Devin Shore’s stick just 10 feet from the net with 5:47 left in the third, setting the stage for the dramatic Thornton vs. Khudobin showdown.
“Everyone had a little something in their stomach (for Thornton),” Pavelski said. “It would have been awesome to see him slide one in there at the end and tie it up for us.”
Still, Thornton managed to inch closer to Mario Lemieux for 11th place on the NHL’s all-time assists list when he earned the secondary assist on Pavelski’s goal in the second. With one more assist, Thornton will tie Lemieux with his 1,033rd career apple.
Speaking of remarkable achievements, the fastest Shark to 11 goals in franchise history stayed hot Thursday night. Timo Meier punched in his 12th on a pass from Kevin Labanc as he bull-rushed the net in the first. The goal put Meier in a tie with Patrick Kane, Alex Ovechkin and David Pastrnak for first place in the NHL’s goals race.
6:03PM #TimoTime pic.twitter.com/c8Bhn20uqJ
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) November 9, 2018
But the night belonged to Thornton even though the Sharks fell one goal short of icing his cake.
“It would have been a nice finish,” …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports