San Jose Sharks get shutout again by Connor Hellebuyck in loss to the Winnipeg Jets

Feb 14, 2024; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets center Gabriel Vilardi (13) leaps in front of a
Feb 14, 2024; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets center Gabriel Vilardi (13) leaps in front of a / James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose's scoring woes continue as injury concerns mount in a 1-0 loss in Winnipeg. Nico Sturm and Kaapo Kahkonen were among those affected with injuries in the third period as the list of absentees, which was shrinking for the first time this season, is now back up to at least 4. It's never a good sign when there are more injuries than goals in a game, which was the case tonight.

It would be the Jets that broke the ice in this one. A point shot from Neal Pionk hit Morgan Barron in front of Kaapo Kahkonen, and the Finn couldn't do anything about that. The Sharks had gotten caved in after a strong first five minutes of this game. It was apparent that the top-end talent of the team was missing, and the rest of the players that were in the lineup were apparent. It's not an ideal start to the game.

Anthony Duclair had a chance to get the Sharks on the board. With Connor Hellebuyck down and out, he lifted a pick that hit the toe of his pad and headed towards the goal line. However, Mark Scheifele returned in time to knock it away from the crease and clear it to the corner. It wasn't certain, so the referees had a look to see if it went in, but it was inconclusive at best, and the Sharks still trailed going into the third period.

Nico Sturm would go down hurt in the third period to make matters worse. 11:10 left in the game, and a team already down Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl was clutching at his head as Logan Stanley crushed him against the boards, picked him up on the ice, and dropped him on the back of his head. It's within the rules, but it feels like one of those plays that shouldn't be as Sturm has to enter concussion protocol.

Nate Schmidt of the Winnipeg Jets would get banged up a little later. As the Sharks tried to sustain some offensive zone pressure, a point shot from Jan Rutta hit him up high and sent the Jets defenseman down, holding his face. He was tangled up with Anthony Duclair out in front and never saw it coming, so it caught him by surprise, which probably added to the sting of it, but you never like to see players get hurt.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic would get dinged up blocking a shot before the end of this game, which isn't good. However, the worst injury of the night occurred to Kaapo Kahkonen, who was hurt making a save in the final two minutes. He labored heavily, trying to get to the bench. You have to hope he's okay because he's had a successful season and earned a move to a contending team, but that didn't look good.

San Jose's offense would come up empty again as Connor Hellebuyck shut the door, and the Sharks couldn't get past him. With just 18 shots, it wasn't a heavy workload, but he did what he had to and kept the Sharks offense quiet. Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 39 of 40, only allowing a deflection in the first period. Unfortunately, that proved to be the only goal in the game, meaning the Sharks fell again and suffered heavy injuries in this one.