We've become jaded when it comes to Joe Thornton's incredible passing ability. He makes five passes a game that most of us wouldn't try in a video game, let alone in the NHL. Even by Thornton's own lofty standards, his pass to Tomas Hertl last night was something special. If you haven't seen it, let's rectify that.
The Sharks have great, well-educated fans but you know a pass is good when half the arena ooos and ahhhs even before the puck hits Hertl right on the tape. Brian Elliott likely wants that goal back (really the only bad goal he's given up this series) but I don't know if anyone in the building other than Thornton and Hertl saw that pass coming. Let's take a closer look.
Joe Thornton just received a pass from Tomas Hertl and with Vladimir Tarasenko up ice and Joe Pavelski covered by two Blues it doesn't look like there's much in the way of passing options. For Jumbo that means it's time for a hail mary. Hertl is already looking back towards Thornton, likely to make sure he held possession of Hertl's pass.
Colton Parayko goes in to hit Thornton and that's when Thornton makes the pass. Hertl has shook off his defender below the net and is heading towards the end line. At this point, I don't know if Hertl expects a tape-to-tape pass or if he's thinking he'll retrieve a pass that rims around the boards.
But this is where the pass ends up. Let's see what's going through everyone's mind at this moment on the ice.
Taraksenko: oh shit
Pavelski, Thornton, Parayko
Pavelski: Where's the puck?
Parayko: GOT HEEEEEEEEEM!
Alex Steen (20), Kevin Shattenkirk (22), Elliott (goalie)
Steen: Wait...is the puck...wait, shit.
Shattenkirk: Where'd the puck go? What am I doing?
Elliott: hello darkness my old friend...i've come to talk with you again...
Jaden Schwartz, Tomas Hertl
On one hand, Elliott should be able to seal up his five hole. On the other hand, Hertl is all alone right in front of Elliott while four Blues skaters watch and a fifth is too busy trying to decide what cologne Thornton wears to even care about the actual hockey play going on 10 feet behind him. So yeah, I guess I've talked myself into giving Elliott a pass on this one.
Thornton makes impossible plays every game, but even for him this one is special. If you somehow missed it, you can pick up your new favorite Thornton t-shirt while you try to get your jaw off the floor.