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Ward's two points help Sharks top Jets

Hutchinson stops 27 of 31 as Jets drop fourth straight

by Ryan Dittrick @ryandittrick /

SAN JOSE, CA - The Winnipeg Jets are heading home with only one of a possible six points on a three-game, three-and-a-half day swing through the pacific.

The San Jose Sharks hit for the cycle in Monday's matinee, scoring shorthanded, twice at even strength and one other on the power play to defeat the Jets 5-2 at SAP Center.

Josh Morrissey and Mark Scheifele scored Winnipeg's lone goals, while Michael Hutchinson made 27 saves.

"We just gave up a little too much," said captain Blake Wheeler. "When you're in these situations and things aren't going your way, you sometimes try to do too much and it ends up costing you, giving up too much on the other end.

"Kind of the same story."

The Jets have now lost four straight and will open a four-game home stand on Wednesday against the Arizona Coyotes.

Asked what concerns him the most after a winless road trip, Head Coach Paul Maurice briefly paused before offering this blunt assessment:

"Probably not taking advantage of the chances that we had…and then about four more that I'm not telling you about."

Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler

The Jets got off to a flying start and looked destined to score the game's opening goal, until a first-period power play, and the resulting shorthanded goal by Sharks forward Joel Ward, derailed an otherwise good period.  

With speed down the right side after picking up a loose puck in the neutral zone, Ward fired a shot to the upper-glove side, beating the goalie for his fourth of the year, from Justin Braun, to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 11:54.

"The first one I have to have," Hutchinson said. "I misread where our back pressure was coming from and I first read it as a breakaway, and then I read it as though our guy was going to pinch him off. I started moving back and just as I did that, (Ward) shot it and I wasn't completely set. That's frustrating. I have to make that save."

Video: POSTGAME | Michael Hutchinson

Winnipeg still had 1:45 with which to work on the power play before a Chris Tierney penalty turned that into a 21-second 5-on-3, but even that wasn't enough to get the offence rolling. Blake Wheeler had the best chance during the nearly four minutes of power play time, clipping iron with a wicked shot off the rush after beating Brent Burns 1-on-1.

Shots on goal were even at 11 apiece, but there was blood in the water after one.

The Sharks took a 2-1 lead just 2:45 into the second as Timo Meier found himself in alone. Mark Stuart stepped up and delivered a massive hit at the offensive blue line, but that resulted in an odd-man rush the other way. The puck eventually found its way over to Meier, and the rookie made no mistake, slinging a shot past Hutchinson for the second of his young career.

Brent Burns padded the lead with a power-play goal at 7:08. Burns took a long shot from the centre point, and it bounce off the end boards, off Hutchinson's right skate and in, giving the all-star defender his team-leading 18th goal and 45th point in this, his 44th game.

The Jets manufactured only four shots in the period.

"After the third one and right through to the end of the second, we were spending a whole lot of time in our end of the ice," Maurice said. "They're a really fast, puck-controlled team, and we really had a real hard time getting out of our end.

"The third one crushes you."

Tierney put the Sharks up 4-0 with 8:19 to play in the third, beating Hutchinson blocker side, off the post and in from the middle of the far circle for his fourth of the year.

Morrissey broke the shutout with only 2:36 to play, feeding a long shot through from the centre point and having it pinball past Martin Jones.

Video: WPG@SJS: Morrissey pots one through traffic

The teams traded goals in the final 19 seconds of the game, with Scheifele getting his 20th of the year on a botch by Jones before Joe Thornton scored into the empty net just nine seconds later.

"It's not good," said forward Mathieu Perreault. "You look at the standings and there are less and less games ahead of us, and we're digging ourselves into a pretty big hole.

"We have to see this next game as an absolute must-win for us."

- Ryan Dittrick,

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