Sharks lose Thornton for Game 4 via one-game suspension

via NHL/NBC Sports
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The San Jose Sharks hope to tie their Round 1 series against the Vegas Golden Knights, but they’ll need to do so without Joe Thornton.

Thornton has been suspended for Game 4 (Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN; Live stream) for an illegal hit to the head on Golden Knights forward Tomas Nosek.

In making the decision, the Department of Player Safety explained that there was head contact that was “avoidable,” and noted that Thornton had been suspended before (during the 2010-11 season). Nosek was able to return to the Golden Knights’ eventual 6-3 win in Game 3.

Here’s the explanation video:

Thornton believed that Nosek put himself in a position to receive the hit, via Shen Peng of Fear the Fin:

“I honestly thought I barely touched him. He came right back,” Thornton said. “It was just one of those plays, it is what it is. I think my son hits me like that six times a day. Just a weird position he put himself in, that’s all.”

Ryan Reaves had quite the response to that take.

The NHL ultimately decided that the hit justified a one-game suspension, so the Sharks face an even bigger challenge in tying this series up.

Golden Knights – Sharks Game 4 from T-Mobile Arena will be Tuesday night at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. (Live stream)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.