SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Joe Thornton's line with Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau was answering a lot of the same questions after practice Monday afternoon. They were all in the same boat after being on the ice for both Chicago goals in a 2-1 loss in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Sunday, and they failed to get a goal at even strength.
Thornton lost a defensive-zone faceoff to Jonathan Toews late in the third period that led to Dustin Byfuglien's game-winner. He also had a golden opportunity to put the Sharks up 2-0 in the second period, but he was unable to stash a rebound into an empty net because Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook wiped him out at the last moment.
On Monday, Thornton talked with reporters at the Sharks Ice practice facility:
Q: What do you think about your minus-8 rating so far in the playoffs?
Thornton: It's one of those things where if you have a good plus-minus, you think a lot about it. But if you don't, you don't really think about it. We thought we had some good chances last night, but we didn't execute. When you're on the negative side, you just want to move on.
Q: You were on the ice for Dustin Byfuglien's game-winner in the third period. Dany Heatley said it was the result of a broken play. What did you see on the tape?
Thornton: It was kind of a 50-50 puck on the board with Pickles (Marc-Edouard Vlasic) and (Patrick Kane), and I don't know if Pickles didn't know where it went, but yeah, it was kind of a broken play. He didn't know to go out, it was just one of those things where bang-bang plays happen.
Q: Does the fact the Sharks had zero penalties in Game 1 mean you need to be a little more physical as a team?
Thornton: When you get a game with no penalties, I think you're just moving your legs really, really good. I think that's the case. It’s not the case that we weren't physical.
Q: After watching Antti Niemi make 44 saves, what's the key to beating him in Game 2?
Thornton: We just need to, with second chances, get them upstairs. He takes away the bottom of the net pretty good. I think when we do get second chances, throw them upstairs on him.
Q: Were you impressed with Niemi's athleticism?
Thornton: A couple plays, especially. With (Ryan) Clowe's he got back pretty good. He competes really, really well. Hopefully in the second game we'll get something on him.
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DLozoNHL