HOCKEY

Sharks aim to turn around season, start with clash vs. Jets

Feb 13, 2024, 3:19 PM | Updated: Feb 14, 2024, 8:29 am

Tomas Hertl #48 (L) and Jan Rutta #84 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after Hertl scored the winn...

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 23: Tomas Hertl #48 (L) and Jan Rutta #84 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after Hertl scored the winning goal in overtime against the New York Rangers at SAP Center on January 23, 2024 in San Jose, California. The Sharks won the game 3-2. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The San Jose Sharks are returning from a two-week break on Wednesday night to take on the host Winnipeg Jets.

As the Sharks begin the unofficial back half of their season following the All-Star and Player’s Break, it’s more than just rust San Jose will be looking to shake off after a long hiatus.

San Jose has had a disappointing season, to say the least. They sit in 31st place out of 32 teams, have suffered a pair of double-digit losing skids and are now facing continued injury trouble.

On Monday, general manager Mike Grier announced that their highest points-getter, Tomas Hertl, would be missing at minimum several weeks, electing to undergoing surgery to his left knee.

“The exact timetable is still to be determined based on the findings of the procedure and his rehabilitation,” Grier said in a released statement. “We will monitor his progress … and provide an update on his status at a later date.”

That wasn’t the only blow on Monday, with Sharks coach David Quinn announcing that captain Logan Couture would not be traveling to Winnipeg.

After waking up “a little sore,” Quinn confirmed that Couture was out week-to-week.

“A little bit of a setback,” said the San Jose coach on Couture’s recovery from hip, pelvis and groin inflammation that has plagued him since the summer. “We’re very cautious with him.”

Just three weeks ago, Couture had made his return after missing the first 45 games of the year and played in all six of the final games heading into the break.

With Couture in the lineup, the Sharks were able to pick up four wins and points in five of those six games.

The Jets wish those were their results over their last six matches. The Jets were finally able to snap a five-game winless skid on Saturday night by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1.

The Jets have flirted with first place in the entire NHL for a good portion of the year but are facing their first real bout of adversity. Their scoring touch has evaporated over their last six games, only lighting the lamp six times.

“There is always harsh reminders over the course of the season to get back on track,” said Jets coach Rick Bowness on how to use the win over Pittsburgh as a springboard to rebound to form.

“Just stay with our game, regardless of who we play, where we play,” continued Bowness on the messaging to his players. “We know what we look like when we’re successful … the five games, the biggest issue we had was, clearly, that we weren’t scoring any goals.”

Even if the goals don’t start coming in droves, the Jets will try and return to the style of game that still has them first in the league in average goals against per game (2.32).

“It was a step in the right direction,” said defenseman Dylan DeMelo on keeping the Penguins to a single goal. “We’re still giving up a little more than we’d like, but that was still one of our best defensive efforts in the last five, six games or so … we’re going to need more of that going forward.”

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–Field Level Media

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