I expect the Ducks to move to the 2nd round tonight. He has no goals and no assists to show for the first four games. With contributions from both players Tuesday, the team that looked like Western Conference favorites as recently as March 15 has suddenly been resurrected with the series tied 2-2.
"We're trying to be the smarter team", said Sharks defenceman Brenden Dillon.
It's Game 5 Thursday evening at 8:35 p.m.
The Sharks should also benefit from the 37-year-old's veteran leadership with 156 career playoff games entering Sunday.
"Settle in", said Sharks coach Pete DeBoer.
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 enduring multiple long stretches without recording a shot on goal in games two and three the Sharks clearly game planned to avoid repeating this particular mistake.
"He's feeling more comfortable", Thornton said.
However, San Jose dropped each of the last two matchups at home with Edmonton this season, including a 4-2 setback on April 6, with three of eight goals allowed coming on the power play.
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Joel Edmundson had the first goal for the Blues after winning Game 1 in overtime, Jake Allen made 23 saves, and coach Mike Yeo devised another shrewd plan against his former team. The Sharks were 4/8 on the power play.
"It becomes tougher because there's more bodies going to the net, it's sporadic", Oilers coach Todd McLellan said when assessing Talbot's tidy performance at the podium after the game. "Let's call it how it was - it was a lot".
Pavelski scored on a pair of deflections, the previously dormant power play scored four times and San Jose held Connor McDavid off the scoresheet for the second straight game.
The numbers speak for themselves. If the Oilers can continue to play this well on defense, the Sharks don't stand much of a chance.
Couture increased the Sharks' lead to 2-0 with a man advantage at 11:02, whipping in a seam pass from Pavelski that was deflected in the slot by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins before Couture pulled it in.
Schlemko capped the scoring with a power-play score at 6:45 of the third period. With Kris Russell in the box for a hooking penalty on Timo Meier the Sharks took a couple trips into the zone with shades of the same old power play, i.e. lots of perimeter passing looking for ideal shots without much traffic in front of the net, until Logan Couture launched a wrister passed an off balance Cam Talbot resulting from some nifty cross ice passes to put the Sharks ahead 2-0. The big center should help generate offense for the Sharks. Including the postseason, the Sharks have played 2,192 games.
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.
"That was something we wanted to do", Couture said.
Game 4 is scheduled for Tuesday night in San Jose. "You've got to turn the page and bounce back and try to get your team a win". The Oilers recorded 41 hits, 20 more than the Sharks, including Kassian's heavy blow to defenseman Brenden Dillon's head in the opening frame.