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5 Keys: Oilers at Sharks, Game 3

San Jose may get Joe Thornton back; Oscar Klefbom expected to play for Edmonton

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent


10 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, NBCS CA

Best-of-7 series is tied 1-1


SAN JOSE -- After splitting two games at Rogers Place, the San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers will play for the first time at SAP Center in their Western Conference First Round series on Sunday.

The Sharks rallied after trailing 2-0 to defeat the Oilers 3-2 in overtime in Game 1 on Wednesday. Edmonton scored two shorthanded goals and defeated San Jose 2-0 on Friday.


[RELATED: Complete Oilers vs. Sharks series coverage]


San Jose will play at home in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since losing the 2016 Stanley Cup Final in Game 6, 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 12.

Here are 5 keys for Game 3:


1. Joe Thornton watch

The Sharks' top-line center missed the final three regular-season games and first two playoff games with a left-knee injury and remains a game-time decision, coach Peter DeBoer said. Thornton skated on his own for 10 minutes during an optional skate at Solar4America Ice and said he hopes to take part in warmups.

"If he's taking warmups, that's another step and we'll see how he feels when he gets out there," DeBoer said. "I think I'm going to stick with when Joe decides he'll play, he'll play."


2. Oscar Klefbom skates

Klefbom skated for the first time since blocking a shot by Sharks defenseman Brent Burns with his left foot late in the third period of Game 2.

"It got me pretty bad, but it feels all right today and I should be good to go," the Oilers defenseman said after Edmonton's optional morning skate at SAP Center.

Klefbom said he initially thought he had broken a bone in his foot, but X-rays revealed a bone bruise but no fracture.

"It's one of those classic bone bruises the docs told me about," Klefbom said. "Doesn't feel very good, but I'm good to go tonight. It's going to take more than that to stay out of a playoff game for sure."


3. Power outage

The Sharks had hoped they could flip a switch in the playoffs and revive a power play that ranked 25th in the NHL during the regular season (16.7 percent) after ranking third last season (22.5 percent). Instead, the San Jose power play has been even worse, going 1-for-12 in the first two games of the series.

DeBoer shuffled his power-play units during Game 2 and said he's considering more changes.

 "We think about everything," DeBoer said. "We flipped some things around last game to try and get a spark."


4. Will the hits keep coming?

Edmonton outhit San Jose 49-34 in Game 1 and 41-21 in Game 2 when it was even more physical. Zack Kassian had six hits in Game 2, including big ones on Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon and center Logan Couture.

The Oilers, however, have taken 12 penalties, and they know it's important to remain physical but stop spending so much time in the box.

"It's definitely possible to keep that physical play up but just being more disciplined and more in control will help us stay out of the penalty box," forward Milan Lucic said.


5. Shark Tank effect

The Oilers were energized by raucous fans at Rogers Place for the first two games. Now it's the Sharks' turn to play in front of their fans at SAP Center. San Jose went 8-4 at home during the 2016 playoffs when it reached the Final for the first time in its history.

"We're excited," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. "I think we realized what it was to us last year. We're looking forward to getting out there in front of our crowd and kind of just feeding off that energy because it does give you a little bit of a boost."


Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle

Drake Caggiula -- Mark Letestu -- Zack Kassian

Benoit Pouliot -- David Desharnais -- Anton Slepyshev

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Matthew Benning

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Iiro Pakarinen, Eric Gryba, Matt Hendricks, Jujhar Khaira, Griffin Reinhart

Injured: Tyler Pitlick (knee)


Sharks projected lineup

Melker Karlsson -- Logan Couture -- Joe Pavelski

Joonas Donskoi -- Patrick Marleau -- Joel Ward

Jannik Hansen -- Tomas Hertl -- Mikkel Boedker

Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Marcus Sorensen

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Kevin Labanc, Dylan DeMelo, Micheal Haley

Injured: Joe Thornton (knee)


Status report

If Thornton plays, he'd likely center the top line, with Couture dropping to the second line and Marleau returning to left wing. ... The Oilers recalled Reinhart, a defenseman, from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Saturday, likely for depth in case Klefbom has a setback. ... Boedker was dropped to the fourth line at the start of the third period in Game 2, trading places with Meier, and benched for the final eight minutes. It's unknown where they'll be skating on their first shifts in Game 3.


Who's hot

McDavid had an assist in Game 1 and his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal in Game 2. ... Kassian scored a shorthanded goal in Game 2, which turned out to be the game-winner. ... Karlsson scored an overtime goal in Game 1. ... Talbot has a 1.46 goals-against average and .950 save percentage in the series. ... Jones has a 1.95 GAA and .927 SV%.

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