HOCKEY

Jets won’t have F Kyle Connor (knee) for matchup vs. Sharks

Dec 11, 2023, 7:19 PM | Updated: Dec 12, 2023, 2:01 pm

Kyle Connor #81 of the Winnipeg Jets looks for an opening against the Colorado Avalanche in the fir...

DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 07: Kyle Connor #81 of the Winnipeg Jets looks for an opening against the Colorado Avalanche in the first period at Ball Arena on December 07, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


The surging Winnipeg Jets bring a four-game winning streak into the third game of their road trip, a matchup against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.




Winnipeg rallied for a 4-2 victory with four unanswered third-period goals against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.




However, the Jets were not in a celebratory mood afterward.




Despite the triumph, Winnipeg’s comeback was marred by a knee-buckling collision between Ducks forward Ryan Strome and Jets star left winger Kyle Connor, who will miss at least two games due to a knee injury. Connor returned to Winnipeg for further testing by team doctors.




“Kyle is heading back to Winnipeg. He’ll be re-evaluated by our doctors tonight when he gets in, and we’ll go from there,” Jets coach Rick Bowness told the media after Tuesday morning’s skate in San Jose. “But as of now, obviously he’s not playing tonight or tomorrow, and we’ll know more tonight when our doctors have a chance to examine him themselves.”




Connor, tied for fourth in the NHL entering Tuesday’s action with 17 goals, carried the puck into the offensive zone and made hard knee-to-knee contact with Strome in the first minute of the second period.




Connor’s linemate Mark Scheifele immediately went after Strome, and the two punched it out with the Anaheim second-line pivot knocking down the Jets’ top center.




“Yeah, you don’t touch any of our guys, especially like that,” Scheifele said. “Definitely didn’t like the hit. To see KC down like that, he doesn’t wince like that very often. You have to get in there.”




Connor lay crumpled on the ice for minutes before gingerly getting up on his skates and having to be supported off the ice by the training staff.




Added Bowness, “Knee-on-knee … you hope that’s suspendable.”




However, the NHL announced on Monday said there would be no supplemental discipline for Strome, who received a five-minute major and a game misconduct.




The Jets said Connor was in San Jose and getting an MRI to determine the extent of his knee injury.




The Sharks closed a six-game road trip by giving the Vegas Golden Knights all they could handle Sunday night, erasing a two-goal deficit by way of tallies from Calen Addison and Mike Hoffman in the final 3:45 of regulation.




However, Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault scored the only two goals in the shootout as the reigning Stanley Cup champions won 5-4.




For last-place San Jose, the road trip (3-2-1) was a rousing success.




The club earned seven points, shocking the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings in victories. The Sharks now sit just one point behind Anaheim in the Pacific Division standings.




After starting 0-10-1, surrendering 10 goals each in two consecutive games and appearing headed toward a historically bad campaign, San Jose is 8-7-2 in the past 17 games.




Rallying against the champs was just another part of Sharks’ progress.




“We’ve created a blueprint of how we’re going to have success here over the last month,” San Jose coach David Quinn said. “We’ve been doing it, but not as consistently as we have over the last two games, and our guys pretty much understand how we’re going to have success.




“I thought they had a five-minute stretch in the third where they kind of hemmed us in a little bit, but a month ago, that’s 25 minutes of hemmed-in hockey that we were trying to fight through.”




The Tuesday matchup will be the first of three between the Western Conference foes over the next two months.




–Field Level Media

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