My Top 5 | Shawn Thornton

In this edition of My Top 5, Thornton, who skated in 105 playoff games, offers up the key ways a fourth-line player can make an impact in the postseason.

Shawn Thornton played 705 NHL regular season games with four different teams, winning the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007 and Boston in 2011.

One of the game’s toughest players, the 39-year-old Ontario native recently called it a career.

In this edition of My Top 5, Thornton, who skated in 105 playoff games, offers up the key ways a fourth-line player can make an impact in the postseason.

Shawn Thornton's Top 5 keys to making an impact

1. First things first

“The puck is optional for the first little bit. I’m looking to get a hit and take the body as much as possible and to create energy and set the tone for the series. I’ll have that conversation with my linemates, too. That would be a conversation before the series starts.”

2. Keep it on your stick

“You don’t want to turn the puck over. It’s very important that you get the puck out of your zone and it’s equally important to make sure you get the puck in to their zone. It sounds simple, but getting the puck in deep and grinding it out down low, as opposed to turning it over, is important for the fourth-line guys.”

3. Talking the (trash) talk

“You do that, but without crossing the line. You want to be the one in control because the other team is doing the same thing. You want to control your emotions while trying to get someone to not control theirs.”

4. Create chances

“The start of a series, the start of some games, I believe the puck is optional. But you want to be able to chip in offensively. It’s usually the third and fourth lines I feel that can make the difference in a series. If you can get a couple of goals here and there and the other team’s third and fourth lines can’t, it might be the difference. The top two lines seem to cancel each other out because there are so many good players in the NHL nowadays. I think you need the third- and fourth-liners to be the difference makers in a series.”

5. When the clock strikes 12…

“If you win, you enjoy it to midnight. That’s the same in the regular season, too. Then all your focus is on the next game and nothing else. You keep a very even keel. The same thing applies if you lose. You lose, think about it to midnight and then move your focus to the next game.”