Pre-game reading: Concern in San Jose after Thornton injury

— Up top, watch the top seven plays of the week, starting with Sidney Crosby‘s bank shot off Henrik Lundqvist‘s head.

— The San Jose Sharks got a much-needed win Sunday in Vancouver, but according to CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz, the victory “took a back seat” to worry over Joe Thornton‘s lower-body injury. The Sharks only have three games left in their regular season. They’re also without Logan Couture, who took a puck to the face last weekend. (CSN Bay Area)

— Seventy-nine games into the season and there’s still fierce competition for playing time among Chicago Blackhawks forwards. “We’re wide open as far as guys pushing and looking to take advantage of it here,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Nothing’s set in stone.” Six forwards — Andrew Desjardins, John Hayden, Vinnie Hinostroza, Tomas Jurco, Dennis Rasmussen and Jordin Tootoo — are all fighting for two openings in the lineup. (Chicago Sun-Times)

— Why Nolan Patrick might not be the first overall draft pick, by Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News. In a nutshell, the answer is Swiss phenom Nico Hischier, who has three goals and three assists in five playoff games for the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. (The Hockey News)

— On all the players we’ve seen go straight from college to the NHL, and why that’s happening. With quotes from general managers Jim Benning, Ron Hextall, Ray Shero, and John Chayka. (Associated Press)

— The injury-plagued Ottawa Senators looked into calling up their prized defensive prospect, Thomas Chabot, from his junior team in Saint John. The rules said they couldn’t, however. “The exact rule is, we had eight defensemen on our roster at the trade deadline,” said GM Pierre Dorion. “So, we would need four injuries to fall into an emergency status, in your second emergency status, then at that point in time, you can recall Thomas Chabot.” (TSN)

Enjoy the games!

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