NEWS

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

HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59