I am really impressed with how Niemi rebounded from a poor series vs. LA, and how JT is playing. He's either inspired by the young guns like Clowe, Pavelski, Couture and Seto taking on a bigger role or he is just thriving with less responsibility.
Funny, since he's the captain now.
Having watched Thornton compete the past few years, I can honestly say I haven't found him disappointing or wanting for effort. It simply has been wanting for results... he still creates, he shows competitive fire, its just the Sharks haven't been able to win, and his line is played so tough. And the Sharks' PP just can't score in the playoffs for whatever reason. Great goalies, airtight defences, etc. If he's out there and he gets beat, he's incredibly pissed off. The 'easy going Joe' only surfaces off the ice when he tries to pump himself up with positive thoughts.
I think this kind of breakout points wise is a couple years overdue. But yeah, it helps when the Sharks have as many weapons as they do now. It does open up more chances, you're right about that.
One weakness for the Sharks that I see the Red Wings trying to expose is when Wallin is out there. It'll be something Vancouver would look for if that matchup unfolds. That being said, San Jose would look to expose Alberts/Rome with Pavelski and Couture in their matchups, so it could balance out.
Niemi's career is filled with these highs and lows. Overall, it balances out to be a pretty good goalie, but its not surprising that he sucked against LA but has turned it up a week later. In the end, you've just got to ride him out and hope your team is good enough in front of him to do the job. It helps that Niittymaki is a capable guy behind him, and your team can pull of ridiculous comebacks like that 3rd game in LA.