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Kovalchuk to miss second straight game

Will sit tonight against Carolina due to lower body injury

Tuesday, 11.8.2011 / 12:37 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Kovalchuk to miss second straight game
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Ilya Kovalchuk took part in today's morning skate, but will miss his second straight game tonight against visiting Carolina.

Kovalchuk feels closer to full strength since injurying his lower body while backchecking in Thursday's game at Philadelphia. 

"Actually, I feel pretty good, but with that kind of injury you want to be 100 percent sure," Kovalchuk told reporters today. "You don’t want to re-injure yourself. That’s the main reason."

Kovalchuk has nine points (2g, 7a) in 11 appearances this season. Coach Peter DeBoer had a good feeling that Kovalchuk will be ready to go Friday, when the Devils (6-5-1) host Washington for the first of a Friday-Saturday home-and-home.

“I do,” said DeBoer. “Anytime you have an injury like that, it’s tough to predict exactly how it’s going to come along, but he’s made huge strides the last three, four days, and if he can continue to do that, I think he probably will [play]."

Andy Greene is expected to play tonight after missing the last two games with a lower body injury.

"I'm going to give it a go," Greene said. "I'm doing warmups, then I'll go from there. I felt pretty good."

Greene tested the injury with crossovers and pivots in morning skate and reported it's, "the best it's felt."

“We saw him there at the end, he looks like he’s going to be able to go, but we’re going to hold off until gametime to make that decision” said DeBoer.

Carolina (5-6-3) enters tonight's contest having dropped two in a row. The Devils, who topped the Hurricanes 4-2 back on Oct. 10, are looking for their third straight win. 

But DeBoer knows no opponent can be taken lightly.

"They'll be challenge," he said. "I know [Carolina coach] Paul Maurice, he's not a guy that takes that laying down. His teams always respond to that type of adversity. We're prepared for that, we've talked about it, and we have to take care of our own game here."

Offensively, the Devils are getting on track. New Jersey has tallied three times in each of its last three outings.

"We’re doing thing better offensively," DeBoer said. "I think when you look at the 12 games, we’ve outshot some teams, we’ve outchanced some teams. We’re still not finishing like I would like, we’re still not getting enough point shots through from our offensive zone time and pucks and bodies to the net, but offensively we’re doing some better things. The key here is obviously combining that defensive foundation with some goals, and that’s what we’re striving for."

Rookie center Adam Henrique had two goals in Saturday's win over Winnipeg, including the OT clincher. DeBoer explained that the challenge for a young player is consistency.

"He's not going to score every night," DeBoer said. "He's got to consistently be a threat. As long as he's getting chances, using his speed, taking care of the details in his own end of the ice, which is an area he's got to continue to focus on, that's a good thing. It's young guys taking their foot off the gas, or expecting, 'I'm not scoring, so I'm not playing well.' Those are the urges you have to fight with young guys. We've got to keep him on the rails and know that even if he's not scoring every night, that he's still helping us in a lot of different ways."

Eric Boulton will miss his eighth straight game. He suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right hand after his one-punch KO of San Jose's Douglas Murray.

He was placed on IR yesterday, retroactive to Oct. 21.

"A little frustrated, but it’s one of those injuries that, it’s the top hand on my stick, you’re always using it," Boulton said. "It’s hard, when you’re favoring it, you can really tell. Before I get in there and play, I want to make sure I’m close to 100 percent so I don’t hurt the team. I want to be an effective player out there. Using the top hand on your stick is a big part of your game. It’s slowly but surely getting there."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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