Thornton returns to lineup, but Oilers take 2-1 series lead

San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE – Edmonton came away with a 1-0 blanking of the San Jose Sharks Sunday night at SAP Center to leave the Oilers up 2-1 in the best four-of-seven first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Cam Talbot of the Oilers produced his second consecutive shutout while making 23 saves. San Jose’s Martin Jones was good for 21 saves but could not stop a close-range shot by Zack Kassian 10:45 into the third period.
Coach Pete DeBoer welcomed back Joe Thornton to the line-up Sunday. After missing the first two games of the series in Edmonton, Thornton was on 21 shifts including 2:33 of power play time.
“He’s our emotional leader,” DeBoer said. “There was no keeping him out.”
Logan Couture played without the facemask he donned in Edmonton. He had 25 shifts and was 4-for-8 on faceoffs.
Kassian, who scored a short-handed goal in the 2-0 win over the Sharks on Friday, was prowling the San Jose zone midway through the third period when defenseman David Schlemko was along the endboards with the puck. Schlemko’s low attempted pass up-ice was intercepted by Kassian. The Oiler skated across the low slot and drove a shot between Jones’ pads to snap the scoreless deadlock.
“That’s playoff hockey,” said Schlemko. “One shot, one block, one bounce.”
“It’s a confidence booster for our team,” said Kassian. “San Jose went to the finals last year.”
Game 4 of the First Round will be played Tuesday at 7pm in SAP Center before the action moves to Edmonton for Game 5 on Thursday.
The Sharks posted a 13-6 edge in shots on net in the first period. Edmonton responded with 12-4 shot differential in the second period.
San Jose set an early pace with a 32-14 showing in hits during the first period, led by Timo Meier’s six hits. The Oilers rebounded in the second period with a 17-13 effort in hits.
Two playoff series are 3-0 after Sunday’s play. St. Louis topped Minnesota 3-1 at home and Pittsburgh outlasted Columbus 5-4 on the road. Montreal is up 2-1 after defeating the New York Rangers 3-1.

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