Home Sports How have Sharks done without Joe Thornton in the past?

How have Sharks done without Joe Thornton in the past?

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			How have Sharks done without Joe Thornton in the past?

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Joe Thornton has been incredibly durable in his nearly 12 full seasons with the Sharks. On those rare occasions when he has been forced to sit, though, the Sharks have typically held their own, albeit for short stretches at a time.

Thornton appeared to injure his left leg in the first period of Sunday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks after a collision with Michael Chaput.

Thornton went in for a check on Chaput along the boards inside the Canucks’ zone and when Chabut braced for the hit, Thornton’s left leg appeared to buckle on the collision.

It isn’t known how much time Thornton will need to miss, if any. He left Rogers Arena on Sunday walking under his own power but with a very noticeable limp. The Sharks will know more when Thornton is reexamined Monday.

Thornton has played 914 of a possible 923 games with the Sharks since he made his debut with the team on Dec. 2, 2005.

In the nine games Thornton has missed since he was acquired from Boston, the Sharks went 5-3-1.

That doesn’t make things any easier now, of course, not with the Sharks still hoping to finish in one of the top two spots in the Pacific Division. There is also no clear indication on when Logan Couture might be able to return after he suffered a facial injury March 25 against Nashville.

Thornton, 37, is having a down year by his hall-of-fame standards with seven goals and 43 assists in 79 games this season. But he still has averaged 18:13 of ice time per game, is a fixture on the Sharks’ No. 1 power play unit and the top line with Joe Pavelski.

“He plays through so much and plays so hard,” Pavelski said. “He’s been pretty healthy throughout his career. It’s definitely a little different scene, but we’ll figure it out tomorrow and go from there.”

Coming into Sunday, Thornton had played in 201 straight regular season games with the Sharks, a streak that began on Jan. 10, 2015 with a game against the New York Rangers. He had missed the four previous games with a shoulder injury he suffered Dec. 31, 2014.

When he sat the Sharks’ next game against the St. Louis Blues, it ended a streak of 319 consecutive games played.

Here’s how the Sharks have done when Thornton’s been forced out of the lineup.

March-April 2010: Thornton missed three games with a lower body injury and the Sharks go 2-1 without him. In the first game without Thornton on March 28, 2010, the Sharks win 4-3, Devin Setoguchi had two goals including the game-winner, Dan Boyle added a goal and an assist, and Thomas Greiss made 42 saves. Thornton’s games played streak is snapped at 398.

November 2010: Joe Thornton is suspended two games on Nov. 6, 2010 for a hit on David Perron of the St. Louis Blues. The Sharks go 1-0-1 in his absence.

January 2015: Thornton suffers a shoulder injury in a game against the Anaheim Ducks and misses four games. The Sharks go 2-2 in his absence.

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