Photo: Nick Lust
Former Capital forward Joel Ward is killing it in San Jose. Saturday night at SAP Center, The Big Cheese had his biggest game of the young season, scoring his second career hat trick in a 5-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. His first career hat trick came November 1, 2013 against the Flyers.
Two of Ward’s goals came in the first period. His first was the result of crashing the net on a Tomas Hertl rebound. His second came from a perfectly placed shot on a two-on-one break.
Ward’s third goal was an empty netter, triggering a raucous on-ice celebration and a rain of hats from the San Jose crowd.
Saturday was Ward’s 9th multi-goal game. He now has eight points in eight games with the Sharks (5 goals, 3 assists). He leads the Sharks in goals and points.
“I’ve always believed in myself,” Ward said to NHL.com. “I know I’m not the prettiest hockey player, but I’ve always believed in my abilities. I’ve hit twenty goals before. I’ve come close a couple times. It’s just once you gain that trust and earn that respect from the guys, I think that confidence keeps building.”
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer is trying to make use of Ward’s skill.
“We all knew he was a good player,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of Ward. “When we signed him, we talked about putting him into a prominent role right off the bat. He’s typically played in more of a depth checking role in the places he’s been. When I had him in the World Championships a couple years ago, he led our team in scoring.”
“Watched him last year in the playoffs [with the Capitals]. You know he has that element. I thought he’d be a real complementary guy to some of the guys in our top six and when he plays with good players, he has the ability to put pucks in the net. And he’s done a great job.”
Keep it up, Wardo. (Just not against Washington.)
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