Thornton-Kesler fight nearly started West finals

By the Associated Press | May 17, 2011 | 8:28 PM EDT

San Jose Sharks' San Jose Sharks' Joe Thornton takes part in a team practice at the UBC Thunderbird Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The Sharks will play the Vancouver Canucks in game 2 of the Western Conference Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver Wednesday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — San Jose captain Joe Thornton tried to get the Western Conference finals off to a raucous start when he asked gritty Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler to drop the gloves right off the opening faceoff.

"Why not?" Thornton said Tuesday, confirming he made the invitation to Kesler. "Let's fight. Let's start the series off with a bang."

It didn't happen. Instead, the Canucks rallied in the third period for a 3-2 win on Sunday night.

Maybe Thornton and the Sharks should be more concerned about how they finish games than how they start them. San Jose is trailing in a series for the first time this postseason and will have a chance to get even on Wednesday night in Game 2 in Vancouver.