It is not something the Devils want to contemplate, but by this weekend the season could be over for Ilya Kovalchuk, captain Bryce Salvador, as well as the entire team.

Neither Kovalchuk (right shoulder) nor Salvador (right wrist) will play in tomorrow night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center and it is not inconceivable that the team would consider shutting both down for the remainder of the season if they are mathmatically eliminated from playoff contention by the weekend.

“I don’t know. I’m taking this day to day, literally,” coach Pete DeBoer said about the possibility of telling Kovalchuk he won’t play again this season. “I’m not looking beyond. He’s not ready for Philly. Let’s look at Florida (Saturday afternoon at Prudential Center).”

Salvador, who was struck on the right wrist by a Zdeno Chara shot April 10, is seeing a specialist and not close to playing.

Kovalchuk, who crashed into the end boards on March 23 and has missed 10 straight games, practiced with the team today but was unable to successfully take a full one-timer.

“The plan originally was for him to travel and for us to look at it in the morning,” DeBoer explained, “but he’s not close enough to be a consideration so we’re going to leave him back.”

A conversation between the winger and coach after practice was the determining factor.

“Not just (the) conversation. A conversation and what I saw in practice,” DeBoer said. “It’s a daily evaluation of both, and he’s not ready yet. And we’re not going to put him in a spot where he can do more damage or he’s not comfortable.”

Goalie Martin Brodeur is anxious to see Kovalchuk return, but not at the expense of his health.

“He gives us another weapon offensively if he feels 100 percent. I think his health is a lot more important than anything,” Brodeur said. “You don’t want to have permanent damage from an injury if you come back too soon. You have to make sure he’s ready to go, especially in a building like Philly. It should be physical out there.”

Kovalchuk insisted the opponent wasn’t an issue.

“It’s not about who we play against. It’s being in the condition to help the team,” Kovalchuk said.