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Thornton thought a fight with Kesler would be a good way to start series

VANCOUVER – San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton says he thought a fight would be a good way to start the NHL Western Conference final.

Thornton and Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler jostled and exchanged words during the opening faceoff of Sunday’s game.

Kesler told reporters Wednesday that Thornton asked him to fight. Kesler declined.

Thornton laughed about the incident.

I thought “let’s start the series off with a bang,” Thornton said. “That’s about it.”

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Asked if he was surprised Kesler refused his offer, Thornton smiled.

“No,” he said.

Thornton said he enjoys playing against Kesler.

“It’s fun playing against world-class players,” he said. “It makes you compete harder.”

Thornton had a goal in San Jose’s 3-2 loss to open the series. Game 2 will be Wednesday.