Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley each had a goal and three assists for the Sharks, who got their first home win of the season. They had gone 2-1 on their recent road trip.
Antero Niittymaki made 27 saves in the victory.
Martin Brodeur gave up all five goals on 39 shots in the loss, the third in a row for the Devils, who fell to 2-7-1 overall. Andy Greene and David Clarkson had New Jersey’s goals.
Thornton got his first goal nearly midway through the first period, when he took a shot from the left circle and it got by Brodeur. Then, at the 11:16 mark, Marleau discretely picked up the loose puck behind the net and slid in a wraparound by the right post to make it a 2-0 game.
The Sharks went up by three with 1:01 left in the period thanks to Thornton’s second of the game.
Clarkson got the Devils on the board shortly into the middle frame thanks to an opportune bounce. New Jersey defenseman Matthew Corrente dumped the puck into the Sharks zone on the right side of the ice, and Niittymaki moved behind his net in anticipation. But the puck took a sideways bounce off the boards and drifted into the low slot, and Clarkson deposited it in the open net at 3:06.
But the Sharks got that goal back with 3:05 left in the period to restore a three-goal edge. Thornton completed his hat trick with a right-place, right- time tally. With San Jose on the power play, Heatley gained control of the puck along the left boards and dumped it in.
Like Niittymaki earlier in the period, Brodeur skated behind his net to retrieve the puck. But like earlier in the period, the puck never wrapped around, instead bouncing out front for Thornton to swat in as he skated by.
Heatley’s goal 6:47 into the third made it a 5-1 game, and Greene scored his first of the season with New Jersey on the power play with a little under six minutes to go.
Thornton recorded his fourth career hat trick. Prior to Wednesday, his most recent one came during a March 25, 2008 contest against Phoenix…Thornton’s only other five-point game was on December 28, 2001, when he recorded five assists for Boston against Florida…The Devils have allowed at least five goals three times this season.