On the nights the Devils aren't playing, Ilya Kovalchuk does not watch other NHL games. He does not follow what the Carolina Hurricanes or Rangers are doing in the Eastern Conference race.

"I'm not a big fan of watching hockey on TV," Kovalchuk said. "I'm at the rink every day. It's enough for me. I watch a movie or some different sports."

The $100 million winger is writing his own script these days and it's a bit unbelievable.

Kovalchuk scored the winning goal on a Travis Zajac pass with 9:50 remaining in Wednesday night's 2-1 victory over the Lightning.

"He's been doing real well," goalie Martin Brodeur said. "He's one of the biggest reasons for our turnaround, no doubt about it. One of our biggest problems was offense."

The games are low-scoring, tight matches right now, but that's how the Devils want to play. And they have a game-breaker in Kovalchuk.

"When you need a goal, he's the one to score one," said newcomer David Steckel, who saw Alex Ovechkin up close in Washington. "It's pretty amazing. When those guys touch the puck you never know what's going to happen."

Kovalchuk now has eight game-winning goals. That's one behind league-leader Ovechkin on a Devils team that won only 10 games in the entire first half of the season.

He also carried the puck in on what resulted in Henrik Tallinder's tying goal.

"Kovy is a different player," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "Kovy can do a lot of things on his own. He's got a knack for scoring and making plays. That's why he's getting so much money."