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VANCOUVER, B.C. — Joe Thornton was injured late in the first period of Sunday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, a potentially devastating blow to the Sharks and their hopes of returning to the Stanley Cup final.
With roughly three minutes to go in the first period, Thornton collided awkwardly with Michael Chaput along the boards inside the Canucks’ zone and immediately fell to the ice. It appeared Thornton’s left leg buckled on the collision, and he wasn’t able to put much or any weight on his left leg as he made his way to the Sharks’ bench.
Thornton dropped his stick as he got to the Sharks bench, fell for a second when he was on the bench before he went to the dressing room.
The Sharks said before the start of the second period that Thornton was being evaluated and that his return to Sunday’s game was questionable. The Sharks’ game Sunday was their fourth-to-last before the end of the regular season.
The Sharks are already without Logan Couture, who missed his fourth straight game Sunday after he took a puck to the face in a game against the Nashville Predators on March 25. Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said before Sunday’s game that he didn’t have an update on Couture on where he stood in his recovery.
Thornton, 37, was playing in his 201st straight game and the 1,446th game of his NHL career. He entered Sunday with 1,391 career points, tied for 22nd all-time with Brett Hull.
At the time of Thornton’s injury, the Sharks were leading 2-0 on two goals by Tomas Hertl at the 11:00 and 12:51 marks.
To start the second period, Patrick Marleau took Thornton’s spot on the Sharks’ top line with Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson.
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