VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CBS/AP) — San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton plans to play Game 5 of the Western Conference finals in Vancouver on Tuesday night.
Thornton appeared to hurt his shoulder on a hit by Raffi Torres in the third period of the Sharks’ Game 4 loss on Sunday. He didn’t practice Monday, but with the Sharks facing elimination with a 3-1 series deficit against the Canucks, Thornton said he would play after taking part in the morning skatearound.
“One hundred percent,” Thornton said. “Whatever it is, it’s fine today. It’s tough missing the last 10 minutes of any game, but I feel fine and ready to help out the guys as much as I can. All the guys realize if you don’t win tonight you go home.”
Thornton leads the Sharks with 17 playoff points. He also plays against the opposition’s top forwards, and leads San Jose with 318 faceoffs, winning 59.4 per cent, which may be difficult with a sore shoulder.
“He’s played extremely well, he’s our leader,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “I think we’re going a little overboard as far as him being injured, so I’ll leave it at that.”
San Jose defenseman Jason Demers, out since Game 7 of the conference semifinals against Detroit, said he’s ready to return.
“We’re still contemplating that,” McLellan said. “There’s a chance.”
Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, knocked out of Game 3 with a suspected shoulder injury, did not skate Tuesday morning after practicing Monday. He is still listed as day to day.
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