The venue changed, but the larger points stayed the same between the Sharks and Oilers from Game 2 to Game 3 … shockingly so.
To start, Cam Talbot shut out San Jose for the second straight game, making 23 saves as Edmonton won 1-0, taking a 2-1 series lead on Sunday. Considering that Talbot only needed 16 stops for a shutout in Game 2, it’s obvious that offense has been halted in this series (even with Joe Thornton back for the Sharks).
Wait … allow a correction: offense is drying up for everyone not named Zack Kassian.
The former first-rounder and former reclamation project now has two consecutive game-winning goals. He was a regular threat against the Sharks, too, creating turnovers and applying his mixture of size and skill in impressive (rarely seen) ways.
He’s already inspiring comparisons to the Oilers’ “most recent” unlikely hero before him: Fernando Pisani (yet, it’s been a while for Edmonton):
More than a few people griped that Kassian beat Jones five-hole (“again!”).
Of course, that goal would be far less regrettable if the Sharks had been able to score since the overtime-winner from Game 1.
It’s been an extremely tight couple of games between the two teams, so coming out on top twice in a row has to be really heartening for an Oilers team that came into the playoffs with legitimate questions about their defense.
Now the Sharks must push through their bumps and bruises to find a way to create more offense.
… And, dare we say, find a way to contain that Kassian kid?