The puck was nowhere near Nosek when Thornton came from behind the Vegas net and uncorked his shoulder into Nosek’s skull, sending the latter to the ice holding his head with 3:06 remaining in the second period.
The Sharks were trailing 4-1 at this point. It will be interesting to see if the NHL’s Department of Player Safety deems this one as a message-sending moment from Thornton, much like they did to Nikita Kucherov when he was handed a one-game ban for boarding a couple days ago.
Thornton’s hit didn’t come near the end of the game, but the score was pretty lopsided and the Golden Knights had just scored a minute earlier, the hit was 100 percent predatory and it was massively late.
There was nothing Nosek could have done to get out of the way of that. He had his head turned the other way after making a pass out of the zone. He only turned in time to take Thornton’s shoulder right to the face.
Jumbo Joe was only given a two-minute minor on the play for an illegal head check. You have to imagine there’s more coming Jumbo’s way.