No Thornton for Sharks in potential playoff preview against Oilers

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The knee injury that Joe Thornton suffered Tuesday against Vancouver will keep him out of the Sharks lineup Thursday in a potential playoff preview against Edmonton.

But when the postseason begins? Jumbo will be there.

Thornton told the Mercury News there’s “no doubt” he’ll be playing when San Jose opens the playoffs next week. He also suggested he could play on Saturday, when the Sharks wrap their regular season at home against Calgary.

As for fellow injured forward Logan Couture, it’s unclear when he’ll return to the lineup. He resumed skating yesterday and his helmet’s been outfitted with a facial guard.

As mentioned above, the Sharks and Oilers are on a crash course for Round 1. Both head into tonight’s action tied on 97 points, with Edmonton holding second place in the Pacific Division due to fewer games played.

Here are the playoff ramifications for this evening:

The Anaheim Ducks will clinch the Pacific Division title:

* If they defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in any fashion AND the Edmonton Oilers lose to the San Jose Sharks in any fashion.

OR

* If they get one point against the Blackhawks AND the Oilers lose to the Sharks in regulation.

So, essentially, the Sharks and Oilers are playing second, and all that comes with it. It’s something the Oilers — who need just one point to clinch — are well aware of.

“This is going to dictate home ice advantage,” forward Patrick Maroon said, per the Sun. “That was our goal going into the playoffs, to get home ice advantage, so for us this is one of the biggest games we’ll play.”

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