Sharks coach Peter DeBoer wanted a lot more out of his team following a lacklustre shutout loss to St. Louis. Joel Ward more than delivered.
Ward had a short-handed goal and took a hard hit to assist on Timo Meier's score, helping San Jose beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-2 on Monday for just its third win in eight games.
"That's the commitment we talk about," DeBoer said. "Taking that hit, making that play scores the goal. We need that. Joel's a guy that brings that to the rink almost every night. That's what it's going to take at this time of year in order to have success."
Brent Burns and Chris Tierney also scored and Joe Thornton had an empty-netter as the Sharks bounced back nicely from a 4-0 home loss to St. Louis on Saturday. Martin Jones made 26 saves, allowing two late goals after the game had been decided.
Josh Morrissey broke up the shutout with 2:36 to play and Mark Scheifele added a goal in the final minute after Jones tried to shoot the puck toward the empty net but hit Scheifele instead.
"That's the first time I've tried, and probably the last, too," Jones said.
Michael Hutchinson made 27 saves for the Jets, who have dropped four in a row.
The Sharks broke open a close game with two goals in the first half of the second period, starting when Mark Stuart jumped up into the play and flattened Ward on a clean hit in front of the Jets bench.
Ward's head slammed against the ice but the Sharks took advantage of Stuart's aggressiveness with a breakaway when Chris Tierney played the puck ahead to Meier, who beat Hutchinson for his second career goal.
"It was a hockey play. It was a good hit," Ward said. "I tried to get the puck out obviously, and next thing I knew I was on my back and heard the horn go off. I wasn't too sure what happened after that."
Ward was taken off for observation to make sure he didn't have a concussion. By the time he returned midway through the second, the Sharks had added to the lead.
Paul Potsma was penalized for closing his hand on the puck and Burns made the Jets pay when his point shot hit off the back boards and then deflected off an unsuspecting Hutchinson's skate and into the net for Burns' 18th goal of the season.
"The third goal was just one of those bounces you get when you're going through a rough patch," Hutchinson said. "It got shot through a screen and I felt it hit my skate and as soon as that happened I kind of kicked it pretty hard."
The Jets had some good chances early but Jones robbed Shawn Matthias twice in the opening minutes of the first period and Blake Wheeler hit a post later in the first.
Winnipeg also got the first power-play chance when David Schlemko was called for a high stick, but the Sharks scored when Dustin Byfuglien couldn't keep the puck in the offensive zone. Ward went in on a partial breakaway and beat Hutchinson with a shot from the top of the circle to make it 1-0 just 15 seconds into the man advantage.
"You can't give up so many grade-A chances and expect them all to be saved, we have to help our goaltenders," Scheifele said. "We're just getting away from our game."
Tierney took another high-sticking penalty for the Sharks, but the Jets couldn't score on the 15-second two-man advantage or either power play.