The Sharks will be without center Joe Thornton, their second-leading scorer, for "several weeks" after he sustained an injury to his right MCL on Tuesday, general manager Doug Wilson told reporters Wednesday.
Thornton, and the Sharks, are still awaiting the results of an MRI, according to Wilson.
In the final minute of regulation during San Jose's 5-4 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Thornton's knee buckled in an awkward collision with teammate Mikkel Boedker in the neutral zone. Thornton skated to the bench under his own power, and headed straight to the Sharks dressing room.
Last season, Thornton partially tore the MCL and ACL in his left knee. The injury required offseason surgery, but Thornton played in San Jose's last four playoff games during a six-game, first round loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
Thornton played through injury earlier this season, too. He missed a couple of practices in November, but did not miss a game, with an injury that Thornton and Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters was unrelated to his left knee.
With health on his slide, Thornton scored 26 points in his last 28 games after scoring 10 in his first 19. Thornton's six goals in January are tied for the eighth-most in the league.
He's also continued to climb up the NHL's all-time scoring charts, passing Bryan Trottier for 16th all-time on Sunday.
Last season, the Sharks and Thornton disclosed his injury differently. Perhaps because he was hurt three games before the postseason began, DeBoer told reporters that Thornton, and then-injured center Logan Couture, were "day-to-day" and that he "[expected] both of them back at some point."
Thornton himself initially told reporters there was "no doubt" he'd play in Game 1 of the Sharks' first round series against the Oilers, only to say he was "day-to-day" the day before the series began.
After San Jose was eliminated, DeBoer disclosed that he had "never seen a guy play with a torn MCL and ACL."
"It's a courageous effort as I've ever seen," the Sharks coach said in April.
Entering Wednesday, the Sharks held a three-point cushion on the Pacific Division's second playoff spot, which means they'd have home ice advantage in the first round if the postseason began today. San Jose will host the New York Rangers Thursday in their first game without Thornton, and their final matchup before the All-Star break.