Right wing Ilya Kovalchuk missed his 10th game in a row with a right-shoulder injury he sustained March 23 against Florida. He did not accompany the team to Toronto but skated on his own at Prudential Center. Kovalchuk also skated on his own Sunday rather than practice with the team. Devils coach Pete DeBoer said Kovalchuk, who turned 30 Monday, remains "day to day," and it sounds possible he could play Thursday in Philadelphia. "My conversation with him before we left New Jersey [Sunday] was he had a good day [Sunday] morning, he was going to try to have another good one [Monday] and we would talk [this] morning," DeBoer said. The Devils clearly have missed Kovalchuk. Although he wasn't scoring a lot – just three 5-on-5 goals all season and only three goals (two short-handed) in the 14 games before he was injured, he's still a huge part of their offense that is missing. His absence impacts every facet of their game because he plays in all situations – even strength, penalty kill and power play – and leads all skaters in ice time at 25:13, which is also first among forwards in the NHL. "Ilya either creates himself or in an indirect way creates at least a goal a game for us in my mind," DeBoer said. "A lot of nights, if you look at the nine-game stretch that would have been the difference in either winning or getting points."
Ilya Kovalchuk may return Thursday against Flyers
Bergen Record | Apr 16