Thornton puts on a passing
clinic Why shoot when you can pass like
11/22/09 - By David Towers -
Perhaps seeing Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley on
either side of Joe Thornton last Friday night, caused Philadelphia Flyers Coach
John Stevens to direct his team to not bother with the usual double teaming or
even one-on-one strategies with Joe Thornton. Rather he maybe had them focus
all their attention on trying to eliminate passing lanes and explore ways to
break the play up on the receiving side of things, near Dany Heatley or Patrick
Whatever Coach Stevens' actual game plan was, it was
not effective against the Thornton, Heatley, Marleau line which teamed up for
an amazing 8 points on the night to beat the Flyers 6-3 in the two teams second
meeting this year. Earlier this season, the Sharks beat the Flyers in
Joe Thornton's unmatched and rare ability to enact an
inordinate amount of calm patience in the fast paced game was on supreme
display this evening. Two times, the tempo of the game was at full speed ahead
and two times, Joe's application of a slow & steady approach befuddled the
entire Flyers defense and their goal tender Ray Emery, resulting in two picture
perfect and mesmerizing goals.
Thornton's Impressive Passes # 1 &
# 2, shown through Dany Heatley's Hat Trick
None of the opposition could properly adjust to Joe when he flicked the switch
and applied his slower speed setting. As if the fast pace of the game was put
on 'pause' while Joe patiently waited for the perfect pass to show itself. The
opposition is forced to flounder for a second as they try to adjust themselves
& that is exactly what Joe takes advantage of, that split second of
confusion requiring adjustment.
Then, when ready, like a tense
cross-bow held back and released, he unloads a perfect pass and has the puck
travel under several sticks and through several legs and finally onto the stick
of Danny Heatley for an easy re-direct into the net.
end the game with 4 assists (the 9th such game of his career), Heatley would
tally 3 goals (the 9th hat trick of his career) and Marleau added a blistering
one-timer for a goal in net. One can argue two things regarding this game,
either the Flyers defense is very porous (unlikely) or that this line is
unstoppable with its myriad of options. I vote for the latter.
Steve Yzerman & Kevin Lowe, both in the building
& doing some scouting for Team Canada saw some compelling evidence to keep
these 3 men together on one of Canada's lines at the upcoming Winter Olympic
games in Vancouver. Something we discussed in earlier article this year. [Heatley
Deal A Steal?]
The Flyers 3 goals were scored by Giroux (2) and
Briere (1). The Flyers could have tallied a few more but Sharks goaltender
Evgeni Nabakov, came up big on two key plays and kept the Sharks lead in tact.
The ice seemed to play a big factor last night, since the game was
riddled with falling players, pucks over sticks and players whiffing away at
the air on several occasions.