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Ward leads Sharks in MLK matinee
Sharks get back to basics and roll Jets 5-2
1/16/17 - By Mike Lee -

Joel Ward wears number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. Ward read a biography of Robinson and found it fitting to honor the man that crossed Major League Baseball's color line by sporting his number on his NHL jersey. Call it fitting that Ward was the man that stepped up on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and led the Sharks to a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Ward scored a goal and added an assist, but more importantly put his nose to the grind stone and led by example as the Sharks desperately needed to derive some positives from.

The Sharks had lost their way the past two games, and were in need of some back to basics hockey. Ward was the guy to lead the charge. San Jose and Winnipeg traded a handful of scoring chances early in the game, but the Sharks got into penalty trouble midway through the 1st period when David Schlemko took a cross checking infraction.

On the ensuing penalty kill, Ward got a step on Dustin Byfuglien, who missed played a puck at the Sharks blueline. The Sharks forward raced up the right wing, then snapped a shot that sailed past Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson's right shoulder for the short-handed goal.

The Sharks weren't entirely out of the woods though. Chris Tierney was called for a high sticking penalty with 15 seconds left in Schlemko's timeout. San Jose killed both penalties, which allowed them to get to the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.

Timo Meier made it a 2-0 game 2:45 into the 2nd period. The play was setup by Ward, who chipped the puck to Tierney, getting the puck out of the Sharks end before getting leveled in front of the Jets bench. Tierney sprung Meier, who slipped past a pair of Jets defenders. Meier raced in on Hutchinson and lifted a puck off his forehand, beating the goaltender past the glove hand.

Ward never saw the goal as he was staring up at the rafters after getting checked. He was required to undergo the league's concussion evaluation protocol and missed a few minutes of the period as he was monitored in the Sharks locker room. He joked after the game that he turned his second for a second, and when he tried looking up ice, all he saw was a white jersey. He also added the hit was a good hockey hit, and had no issue with it.

Paul Postma was whistled for closing his hand on the puck, putting the Sharks on the power play for the first time in the game. Brent Burns threw a puck toward the Jets goal, but it sailed wide left. The puck bounced off the end boards, then it skittered to the left perimeter of the crease, but Hutchinson didn't see it. The Jets goaltender took a step backwards and kicked it with the back of his skate blade and into the Winnipeg goal.

Given the Sharks struggles to score a power play goal, they welcomed their luck on the play. It also gave them a 3-goal cushion, which wasn't something the Jets would overcome.

Tierney padded that lead 11:41 into the 3rd period snapping a rebound chance past Hutchinson from 20 feet out after a puck bounced off Blake Wheeler to the left of the high slot. It was Tierney's first goal in over a month.

Josh Morrissey broke Martin Jones shutout bid with 2:36 to play when his shot hit something in front of the Sharks goaltender and flipped over his left pad. San Jose's head coach Peter DeBoer challenged the goal, citing goaltender interference as Wheeler cut across the top of the crease and made contact with Jones, but the goal stood.

Trailing 4-1, the Jets elected to pull Hutchinson for an extra attacker which resulted in an odd goal for Winnipeg. Jones found himself with the puck to the right of his net, and the time to try and whip it down ice. Just as he released it, Scheifele stepped in front of him and gloved the puck, knocking to his feet. All Scheifele had to do was sweep it into the wide open net for his 20th goal of the season.

Joe Thornton made it a 5-2 game with a more conventional empty-net chance. Thornton won a face off at his own blueline, then sent the puck two-thirds of the length of the ice for his 3rd tally of the season.

Game Notes:

* The NHL ruled that no additional punishment would be imposed on Joe Thornton, in response to the spearing major he earned in the Sharks 4-0 loss to St Louis on Saturday night.

* Micheal Haley and Mark Stuart kicked off the game with a spirited fight 2:25 into the game. Both players were looking for a way to spark their respective teams.

* The 14,479 in attendance was yet another mid-week non-sellout. The Sharks have struggled to fill SAP Center on non-weekends.

* Haley and Melker Karlsson were the only Sharks not to record a shot on goal in the game. Brent Burns and Dustin Byfuglien led their respective teams with 6 shots each.


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1 2 3 T
WPG 0 0 2 2
SJ 1 2 2 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Ward 4 (Braun), 11:54, (sh).
2nd period - 2, SJ, Meier 2 (Tierney, Ward), 2:45. 3, Burns 18 (Pavelski, Marleau), 7:08, (pp).
3rd period - 4, SJ, Tierney 4 (Meier, Vlasic), 11:41. 5, WPG, Morrissey 2 (Scheifele), 17:24. 6, WPG, Scheifele 20 (unassisted), 19:41. 7, SJ, Thornton 3 (unassisted), 19:50, (en).
1st period - Stuart, WPG (fighting major), 2:25; Haley, SJ (fighting major), 2:25; Schlemko, SJ (high sticking), 11:39; Tierney, SJ (high sticking), 13:24.
2nd period - Postma, WPG (closing hand on puck), 6:21; Byfuglien, WPG (high sticking - double minor), 17:03.
3rd period - Wheeler, WPG (high sticking), 6:04.
Shots Saves
WPG - Hutchinson 31 27
WPG - empty net 1 0
SJ - Jones 28 26
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
WPG 11 4 13 28
SJ 11 14 7 32
Power Play Conversion
WPG 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Joel Ward
Martin Jones
Timo Meier
SAP Center - 17,479
Referees: Hebert, Lee. Linesmen: Driscoll, Knorr.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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