SAN JOSE – Apparently, having several stitches in your lip isn't enough to keep a hockey player down. At least, that's what Sharks winger Marcus Sorensen displayed on Friday night when he returned to the ice and put up a two-goal effort against the Avalanche.
Sorensen admitted to the press after that game, a 4-3 win, that sitting out a couple of games after taking a puck to the face wasn't easy.
"It's not fun watching," he said. "It's good to be back."
But the Swede's strong performance was no fluke, either. Through the Sharks 2018-19 campaign, Sorensen has consistently played a gritty game that has helped get San Jose results. Friday night was just another example of that.
"He's been good for us all year," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said Friday. "He plays a hard game. We're happy for him, that he scored those goals."
There's no denying Sorensen has put the work in to get where he's at in his 2018-19 campaign. After coming to San Jose in 2016, he's bounced up and down between the Sharks and the AHL Barracuda, even seeing a little playoff time on the NHL club's fourth line last season.
But it was a strong training camp this past September that really allowed him to cement his spot on the roster – and according to his coach, he's been on an upward trend ever since.
"He's just gotten better and better," Peter DeBoer said. "I think his development from coming over here and playing in the American League to getting on the fourth line a couple of years ago in the playoffs and playing an energy role."
Of course, you can't talk about Sorensen without talking about the player who has become his fixed linemate this season – veteran center Joe Thornton. After Thornton's return to the lineup early in the season following some complications with his surgically repaired knee, DeBoer took the vet off the Pavelski-led top line and made him a third-line center with Sorensen on his wing.
The duo found chemistry almost instantly, with Sorensen even setting Thornton up for his 400th career NHL goal. That chemistry has continued throughout the season, in which Sorensen has posted 22 points (13 goals, 9 assists) and aplus-7 rating through 63 games.
"You can't understate how important Joe Thornton has been to his development offensively," DeBoer said. "He's always talking to him about hanging on to pucks and making plays. When you get a guy like that who wants to play with you, that's the golden ticket."
Not surprisingly, though, Sorensen isn't one to pat himself on the back, giving credit to the team around him – even when he has a two-goal game like he did on Friday.
"I play with good players, they make plays that make me better," Sorensen said. "So it's easy for me to go out there."