Coach’s Corner: ‘Joe Thornton is a playoff guy’

Ron MacLean and Don Cherry talk about the play of Luke and Brayden Schenn, Patrick Kane’s OT goal in Game 5 against the Blues and why Joe Thornton is a playoff guy.

For all the talk at the opening of Hockey Night in Canada Friday about this being the year when Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals finally have their ducks in a row, Don Cherry says this could be Joe Thornton‘s year.

“Joe Thornton is a playoff guy,” Cherry said on Coach’s Corner, “I’m not too crazy about the beard but…”

Thornton and his San Jose Sharks lead the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 in their opening round series. Though the Sharks blew a 3-0 series lead the last time these teams met in the playoffs, something does feel different about the circumstances around this one.

Thornton has a goal and two assists in the four games prior to Friday’s Game 5. He’s averaging 19 minutes of ice time and is winning 56.5 per cent of his faceoffs. His beard has the highest Corsi rating on the team.

When the series started, Andrew Berkshire took a look at Thornton’s game and playoff record and wrote why this is the year Thornton will prove his doubters wrong.

Since Thornton joined the Sharks in 2005-06, they have made the playoffs each season except 2014-15. They’ve lost in the first round three times, the second round four times and in the conference final twice.