Joel Ward scored a hat trick tonight for the San Jose Sharks, leading them past the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-2. The Sharks didn't play a complete game, but they found a way to win which is something they struggled with last season.
Ward scored only one minute and 21 seconds into the game with assists coming from Patrick Marleau and Tomas Hertl. About seven minutes later, Ward scored again with the assist going to Brent Burns.
Burns was reunited with Paul Martin tonight after Martin has been out with an undisclosed injury. Martin was extremely missed while he was out, especially for Burns. This defense pairing's success is vital for the Sharks' long-term success.
Justin Faulk opened up the second period with a powerplay goal, cutting the Sharks lead to only one goal. It only took a few minutes for Joe Pavelski to gain the Sharks' two goal lead back by pushing the loose puck through Eddie Lack's pads.
Tommy Wingels scored the Sharks' fourth goal three minutes later and chased Lack to the Hurricanes' bench. Cam Ward came in as relief. It didn't take long for Riley Nash to get that goal back, making the game 4-2. Nash banked the puck in off of Martin Jones' back and it was a bit of a soft goal for Jones to let in.
The only other goal of the game came in the last minute when Ward completed the hat trick on the empty net. This was Ward's second hat trick of his career and first as a Shark.
In Paul Martin's return tonight he earned second star of the game with Brent Burns getting third star. This is no coincidence as Martin is the driving force behind Burns not looking like a mess in the defensive zone. It’s great to see for Sharks fans that Burns finally has a partner in crime that keeps him in check. Brendon Dillon was not the answer last year as Burns’ partner. Martin is a perfect compliment to Burns’ game as he is always steady and Burns is all over the place.
Ward’s hat trick performance earned him the game’s first star and it’s well deserved. He even was getting looks on the first power play unit with the big boys. Ward is really showing how versatile he is as being able to play a third line role and even a top line role. He’s looking like an excellent free agency signing by Doug Wilson.
The Sharks, now 5-3 with 10 points, don’t play again until Wednesday night against the visiting Nashville Predators. This game will be a good test for the Sharks as the Predators are a top team in the conference with one of the top three goalies in the world. The Hurricanes dropped to 2-6 with only four points and take on the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.