Thornton returns to lineup for Sharks in Game 3 vs. Oilers


Zack Kassian scored the only goal and Cam Talbot made 23 saves for his second straight shutout as Edmonton downed the San Jose Sharks 1-0 on Sunday in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarter-final series.

"Can't say enough good things about the guys in front of me the last couple of games", Talbot said Monday after a practice in preparation for Tuesday night's Game 4. Certainly Talbot does not bear sole responsibility for the loss because he had no appreciable defensive help.

Despite scoring just three goals in the series through three games - all in Game 1 - they tied the franchise record for most goals ever scored in a playoff game. "You have to try and find one or two early and hopefully you can build on that and get a little momentum going that way".

"We didn't start the way we wanted to and gave up a goal right away", Talbot said.

Burns and Joel Ward led San Jose with three shots each.

The series now shifts back to Edmonton for a pivotal Game 5 on Oilers ice.

But the Sharks reminded them anyway.

"It's already forgotten in my mind", Talbot said.

On Saturday night, the Edmonton Oilers won their first playoff game since June 17, 2006 - a stretch of futility that lasted 3,954 days.

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The Sharks continued to show signs of addressing their biggest shortcomings in games two and three, as the power-play woes also showed signs of life and finally punished the overly aggressive Edmonton fore-check.

Thornton isn't quite the player he used to be with just seven goals in 79 games this season, but the former Hart Trophy victor finished second on the team this year with 43 assists.

After two consecutive icing plays by the Oilers, the fatigue and frustration again led to a goal as the Sharks grabbed an easy faceoff win and Logan Couture buried the Sharks' fifth score of the game. More importantly, he was winning battles along the boards on both sides of the puck, an indication that his tenacious two-way game is rounding back into form. For San Jose, at least - the Oilers got trampled under the hoofs.

At times, Larsson and Klefbom have drawn the challenge of covering San Jose captain Joe Pavelski, the Sharks' top-scoring forward in the regular season with 29 goals and 68 points.

"It's nice, but you win 1-0 [or] you win 7-0, it's just one win", Couture said.

McDavid has been held relatively in check this his first career postseason series, but his skating is so explosive and his playmaking so creative that it feels like he could score every time he touches the puck.

The Sharks are 1 for 14 on the power play in the series and allowed two short-handed goals in Game 2.

That prompted chants of "We want seven!" from the delirious crowd and it came when Schlemko scored on the power play in the third. "We gave them too many opportunities on the power play when they were feeling good".

It was a 3:30 a.m. start for Downton on Sunday, but he managed to get to the SAP Center well before game time. Todd McLellan shuffled up the Oilers lines, putting Anton Slepyshev on the top line with Connor McDavid and Patrick Maroon. F Mikkel Boekder was scratched to make room for Thornton.