By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Nate Schmidt had a couple of special people watch him score his first goal as a member of the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
Acquired in an off-season trade with Vancouver, Schmidt’s goal proved to be the game-winner in a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
“Mom and dad were here tonight, too,” said Schmidt, who also has nine assists. “It was their first game in Winnipeg and I could hear my mom whistling. Seriously, from when you were a kid.
“It’s wild, that was cool.”
The veteran defenceman blasted a one-timer from the point past a screened James Reimer at 14:11 of the second period to make it 2-1 for the Jets.
Pierre-Luc Dubois had a goal and assist and Kyle Connor and Jansen Harkins also scored for Winnipeg (7-3-3). Andrew Copp added a pair of assists.
Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves for the Jets, who were playing their fifth game of a season-long, seven-game homestand (3-1-1) at Canada Life Centre.
Andrew Cogliano scored for San Jose (7-5-1). Reimer stopped 30 shots for the short-handed Sharks, who are 1-1-0 on their five-game road trip.
San Jose had seven players and head coach Bob Boughner miss the game because they’re in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. They’re expected to re-join the team prior to Saturday’s game in Colorado.
John MacLean was in charge of the bench in Boughner’s absence.
“I thought we had a couple opportunities and we just weren’t able to bury it,” MacLean said.
“We never really got any power plays so it’s just one of those things,” he added. “Guys tried and it just didn’t come.”
The game was tied 1-1 after the first period and Winnipeg led 3-1 after the second.
A Winnipeg turnover in the defensive zone led to Cogliano’s goal at 6:28 of the opening period. Brent Burns picked up the assist, extending his point streak to six games (one goal, eight assists).
Connor evened the score at 11:38 when he flipped a rebound past Reimer for his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
The second period featured a number of missed opportunities for both sides. Jets captain Blake Wheeler was stopped by Reimer on a breakaway and on a two-on-one break.
San Jose forward Rudolfs Balcers hit a post early in the period, and the Sharks were denied on a three-on-one break.
“We did get the puck in, we did get our chances,” San Jose forward Nick Bonino said. “We had some looks there to even it up. We had a three-on-one both in the second and in the third.
“Hellebuyck again, too, is a good goalie and we just couldn’t get him.”
Five minutes after Schmidt’s goal, Harkins widened the gap to 3-1 by converting on a two-on-one play with Adam Lowry.
“It’s a lot easier going into the third period with a two-goal lead,” Lowry said. “You’re feeling better, you’re getting rewarded for some of the chances.”
The Jets had their third power play of the game 16 seconds into the third period when Bonino was called for tripping, but they managed just two shots on net.
Dubois scored into an empty net with 33 seconds remaining in the game.
“We’ve got pretty good chemistry with (Dubois) right now,” Connor said. “I think we’re reading each other really well and just taking a little more ownership all over the ice and we all want the puck and to make a difference.”
It was the last meeting of the season between the Jets and Sharks. San Jose won both games in California last month, one in regulation and one in overtime.
Winnipeg, which has points in 10 of its last 11 games (7-1-3), hosts the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.