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Kovalchuk feels ready to go

Back at practice Tuesday, expects to face Isles on Wednesday

Tuesday, 03.29.2011 / 3:18 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Kovalchuk feels ready to go
Kovalchuk ready to go against the Islanders on Wednesday. GETTY IMAGES
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Ilya Kovalchuk was back at practice Tuesday and expects to play in Wednesday’s meeting with the Islanders.

All he needs is a green light from Jacques Lemaire.

“It’s Jacques’ decision, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to play,” Kovalchuk said.

Kovalchuk was hit in both feet by two different shots in Saturday’s loss at Buffalo. His discomfort was evident after taking a Thomas Vanek slapper in his right foot, and he missed Monday’s practice.

Kovalchuk has played in every game this season but one, when he was a healthy scratch in October. It will take more than a little soreness to keep him out of the lineup.

“A little bit, but it’s good,” he said. “It’s all good. It will be even better tomorrow, so I don’t even worry about that.”

X-rays were negative and Kovalchuk doesn’t expect to miss any additional time. A broken foot forced him to miss six games in November 2009.

“I hate to sit out games, like everybody else,” he said. “Usually I heal pretty quick. This was just a couple of bruises. I was lucky there weren’t any fractures or anything.”

Lemaire has marveled at Kovalchuk’s conditioning and skill.

“He’s a big guy, he can take a lot,” said Lemaire. “He can take a lot of minutes, he recovers quick. Conditions aside, he’s an athlete. He’s a born athlete. He’s not the guy that has to train a lot to be in good shape. It looks like he’s fit. He hasn’t skated for two, three days, and you look at him go there, he’s not breathing as hard as the other guys.”

As far as the postseason is concerned, the Devils find themselves on the outside looking in with seven games to go. They trail eighth-place Buffalo by 12 points.

“We’re going to push until the last second of the last game because we have a lot of pride and we know our fans,” Kovalchuk said. “I’m sure it’ll be good crowds. We didn’t accomplish anything, but I think we showed a lot of character in that stretch. We’re going make that push right to the end to make life feel better before next year.”

Notes
Colin White and Anton Volchenkov missed their second straight full team practice. They both suffered lower body injuries at Pittsburgh on Friday and missed Saturday's contest in Buffalo.

Mark Fraser and Jay Leach practiced in their absence.

Line shuffle
Lemaire kept Zach Parise with Travis Zajac and Nick Palmieri, moving Kovalchuk to a line with Jacob Josefson and Dainius Zubrus. The other lines were Brian Rolston - Patrik Elias - Mattias Tedenby and Adam Mair - David Steckel - David Clarkson. Rod Pelley and Vladimir Zharkov were the extra forwards.

"That was a shuffle," Lemaire said. "I’ve got to remember those lines. Some of them looked good, huh?"

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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