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Ejection ruins homecoming
Sharks romp without Thornton
1/10/06 - by Derick Bellamy

In what was billed as one of the most anticipated games this season, Joe Thornton returned to Boston on Tuesday night, but his stay was short lived. In his first appearance at TB Banknorth Garden since the Nov 30 trade that sent him to San Jose, Thornton was tossed from the game less than six minutes in, after receiving a game misconduct for checking from behind.

Thornton was calm and collected before the contest, expressing no animosity towards his former team. He described himself as having been 'blindsided' by the trade, but he understood it. Earlier in the week he had talked about having 'great memories' from Boston, as well acknowledging the fact that 'people get traded or people get fired,' and that 'it's just the nature of business.'

After his brief sting on the ice Joe Thornton said that he was 'in shock' about his misconduct for the controversial check on former teammate Hal Gill on his third shift of the game.

"Maybe it's a penalty, maybe it isn't," said Gill, who sustained a pinched nerve in his shoulder on the hit and didn't return. "I think what he got was too much."

Thornton and Gill had were both rookies for Boston in 1997.

Going into the game, The Sharks were 10-4-1 since the trade and were carrying a three-game winning streak.

Things opened up at 3:15 into the first period, with a San Jose goal from Josh Langfeld, assisted by Mark Smith and Scott Thornton, who had a two-goal game against Los Angeles Saturday. San Jose's momentum following the tally soon seemed to be in jeopardy, as Joe Thornton was called for an alleged 'check from behind' against Hal Gill just two minutes later at 5:13. San Jose received a five-minute major, charged against Thornton, who received a game misconduct.

The team kept the momentum by preventing Boston from scoring, and soon received several power plays themselves. The Sharks scored their second on a shorthanded goal from Langfeld, his second of the night. Boston responded shortly afterwards, as Milan Jurcina scored a slap shot on the power play that brought them within one; David Tanabe and Marco Sturm, who was sent to Boston in the Thornton trade, made the assists.

San Jose regained their two-goal lead early in the second, as Scott Hannan scored off of a pass from Marleau, proving that the teams' other stars are ready to act despite Joe Thornton's absence, while putting themselves up 3-1. It was a power play goal, with Jurcina having just received a 2-minute penalty for delay of game after sending a puck into the crowd; the penalty was at 1:49 into the period, the goal at 2:48.

Things didn't let up after that, as Nils Ekman sent a pass from behind the net to Marleau in the slot, who scored at 9:45, ten seconds into a power play on a boarding penalty to Boston Defenseman Andrew Alberts. Marleau cashed in on a one timer from the slot on a pretty feed from Ekman on the ensuing power play.

Jurcina received another penalty for Boston with a Hooking call 16:12 into the second, resulting in another power play tally for San Jose. This time winger Johnathan Cheecho was the goal-scorer, assisted by Ekman and Tom Preissing; Cheecho, who is the NHL's leader in goals scored since December 1st and has been doing much better since The Sharks got Thornton, displayed an ability to continue that pattern in Thornton's absence.

San Jose, now up 5-1, scored a sixth early in the third, as Ekman put in a backhand off of a pass from Marleau just 19 seconds into the period. The rest of the period, which was the only one the Bruins didn't get outscored in, passed without any further fireworks. The arena emptied gradually over the course of the final third of the game. Despite a second goal at 18:04 from Jurcina, the remaining spectators in Boston booed following the buzzer. The Sharks, who were unable to give Josh Langfeld a third goal, won the game 6-2.

Langfeld did score twice, one even-strength and one short handed, while Ekman, Hannan, Marleau, and Cheecho each had a goal and two assists. Three of San Jose's six tallies were on the power play, which was extremely effective despite Thornton's absence.

Jurcina also had a large influence on the game both ways; half of the eight goals scored collectively were either scored by him or by San Jose while he was serving penalties.


Because Edmonton, who has played three mores games, also won tonight, The Sharks are still 9 points away from 8th place. The two points from this win put San Jose (40 games and 43 points,) one point ahead of The Phoenix Coyotes, who have played 43 and lost to Ottawa on Tuesday. Anaheim, having played two more than the Sharks, are now only three points ahead of San Jose.

The Sharks' next game is in Ottawa Thursday against The Senators, who have only won two of their last five. San Jose then completes this week's three-game Northeast Division road-trip on Saturday in Montreal. San Jose's victory in Boston Tuesday came despite the fact that they're still only 7-12-1 on the road.

The win was San Jose's first ever in Boston.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 2 3 1 6
BOS 1 0 1 2
1st period - 1, San Jose, Langfeld 1 (Smith, Thornton), 3:15. 2, San Jose, Langfeld 2 (McCauley, Hannan), 13:12, (sh). 3, Boston, Jurcina 3 (Tanabe, Sturm), 14:39, (pp).
2nd period - 4, San Jose, Hannan 3 (Marleau, Cheechoo), 2:48, (pp). 5, San Jose, Marleau 17 (Ekman, Cheechoo), 9:45, (pp). 6, San Jose, Cheechoo 24 (Ekman, Preissing), 16:19, (pp).
3rd period - 7, San Jose, Ekman 8 (Marleau, Gorges), 0:19. 8, Boston, Jurcina 4 (LaCouture, Green), 18:04.
1st period - Leahy, BOS (elbowing), 0:14; Thornton, SJS, served by Stevenson, major-game misconduct (checking from behind) (hooking), 12:51.
2nd period - Jurcina, BOS (delay of game), 1:49; Alberts, BOS (boarding), 9:35; Primeau, BOS (hooking), 11:45; Jurcina, BOS (hooking), 16:12.
3rd period - Stuart, BOS (hooking), 2:22; Leahy, BOS (high-sticking), 8:38; LaCouture, BOS (roughing), 14:39.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 23 21
BOS - Raycroft 26 21
BOS - Thomas76
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 17 9 7 33
BOS 5 11 7 23
Power Play Conversion
SJ 3 of 9
BOS 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Josh Langfeld
Patrick Marleau
Nils Ekman
Referees: Chris Rooney, Francois St. Laurent. Linesmen: Derek Nansen, Tim Nowak.

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