Sharks need big performances from big players

Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (centre) celebrates a goal against the Kings with teammates...

Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (centre) celebrates a goal against the Kings with teammates James Sheppard and Joe Thornton (left) during Game 2 of their NHL Western Conference semifinal at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, May 16, 2013. (LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:05 PM ET

SAN JOSE - In the past, Joe Thornton was expected to carry the San Jose Sharks on his broad shoulders.

That's not the case anymore.

That doesn't mean he's stopped trying.

“You enjoy the pressure,” Thornton shrugged after Saturday's practice in San Jose. “When you feel some pressure, you know you're still playing. Guys who are at home or on vacation, feeling no pressure, they're not feeling so good, I assume. You want to play good. You assume you're going to play good.”

For all the talk over the past week about the emergence of future captain Logan Couture and the evolution of the leadership group in San Jose, Thornton is still the key to success for the Sharks.

Now trailing 3-2 in this best-of-seven series with the Los Angeles Kings, the man they call “Jumbo” needs to be a beast in Sunday's Game 6 at HP Pavilion.


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