SAN JOSE -- There was a plethora of storylines coming out of the Sharks’ crazy 5-4 victory over the Nashville Predators Tuesday night. Almost all of them were eclipsed by Joe Thornton scoring his 400th career goal.
With the score tied up 4-4 in the waning minutes of regulation, the towering forward receiving a magnificent cross-ice pass from linemate Marcus Sorensen before sending the puck past Nashville goalie Juuse Saros into the back of the net.
The energy at the Tank after the goal was electric. As his teammates swarmed him in celebration, Thornton was full of emotion as his 400th marker put the Sharks on top 5-4.
“I was on the ice, it was awesome,” Joe Pavelski said with a smile after the game. “It’s hard to put in perspective at times just what he’s been able to accomplish.”
The only thing making the goal even more impressive was that it put him on an exclusive list of seven players in NHL history who have scored 400 goals, tallied 1,000 assists, and played in over 1,500 games. Not surprisingly, though, Thornton told the media he was more focused on helping the team win than notching the milestone goal.
“Just trying to improve my game right now,” he said, a reminder to everyone he’s still battling back from those knee issues that sidelined him at the start of the season.
Wait, so he doesn’t know what highly-touted company he’s joined after scoring his 400th goal?
“No idea,” he admitted. “I haven’t checked to be honest with you.”
His teammates have been paying closer attention.
“It’s like every other night, there’s some kind of stat getting thrown out there,” Pavelski said of following his teammates' accomplishments. “They’re fun to look at, they really are.”
Defenseman Erik Karlsson has only been Thornton’s teammate for a little over a month. But since he has experience playing against No.19, he offered some perspective on what it was like for the Predators’ defense when Thornton came barreling down the ice.
“He’s one of those guys that you always have to be aware of,” Karlsson explained. “You always have to be aware of where he is because he’s such a good hockey player and if he gets the opportunities, you know he’s going to make you pay.”
Of course, the goal couldn’t have been made possible without the beautiful set-up from Sorensen, who Thornton has had a lot of success playing with as of late.
“Marcus made a great play,” Thornton complimented. “I love playing with him. It seems like we’ve got some chemistry together now.”
When asked what it was like contributing to the milestone goal, Sorensen kept his answer straight-forward.
“It was pretty cool,” he said. “I’m happy for him.”