Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

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

"For me as a player, (I) can just focus on my game and you know he's going to take care of his business".

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton is back in the lineup after missing the first two games of the playoffs with a left knee injury.

It took just 15 seconds for the Sharks to break their 120-minute scoring drought, and the rout was on from there.

There was some concern that Talbot might not have that much to give after he made 73 starts in the regular season, but he appears to be one of those rare horses that can just gallop all day long.

Thornton returned to play on the top power play unit, but the Sharks' problems persisted as they wee unable to set up in the Oilers' zone for any significant amount of time.

This one was a reversal of Game 1, when the Oilers were outshot 44-19 en route to a 3-2 overtime loss.

"He has a lot of courage", DeBoer said of Couture's effort.

"(But) last night, we all played within our skin and I think that was real important.

"We were able to create more on our power play. To get it early tonight and get that feeling was critical".

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Les Rouges et Blancs manager Leonardo Jardim added that he is expecting a friendly atmosphere inside Stade Louis II on Wednesday. Aubameyang has been clocked covering 30 metres in 3.7 seconds and he rarely goes twice without scoring in a tie.

The Sharks, who haven't scored since Melker Karlsson's overtime victor in Game 1, managed only one shot in the final 1:47 with Jones pulled for an extra attacker. The Sharks will need to pepper him with shots in Game 4 to get him to work more than they have in the past two games.

San Jose went on the power play at 16:43 when Edmonton winger Benoit Pouliot was guilty of a rough. San Jose is 47-31-7 overall and 26-12-4 at home.

Things would continue the Sharks way in the first period. Sure, there is shock value in a 7-0 thrashing, and the Oilers played for quite awhile as if they were in shock. Instead, Sharks continued to dictate.

We'd say that's a pretty good return on the investment. "We've been playing these games for a couple of weeks heading into the playoffs, which I think was a good stepping stone for us", Talbot added. "I would do it all over again if it means what we have right now".

The Sharks chances of advancing past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs always depended on the health of Thornton and Logan Couture. Despite getting whacked by a high stick and requiring a between-periods visit to the dentist to get his teeth numbed, he was a force. "I don't know if there was really any time to let frustration settle in", said Pavelski.

Later in the game, defenseman Kris Russell shoved him toward the end boards, face first. This season, that figure was down to 2.52 per game, eighth best in the National Hockey League.

Columbus still trail 3-1 in the series, which shifts back to Pittsburgh on Thursday night for Game 5.

The young Oilers were shaking off questions about experience and style of play before Tuesday, yet this was the sort of setback people were waiting for, especially against grizzled veterans in San Jose. "It was nice to score some goals". They can't be expected to get on the scoresheet every night come playoff time. This eventually led to Marcus Sorensen netting his first career playoff goal as he picked up a Brendan Dillon rebound and sent it home.

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