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Kovalchuk makes trip to Boston

Could play Tuesday vs. Cup champs

Monday, 11.14.2011 / 3:13 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Kovalchuk makes trip to Boston
Kovalchuk possible for Tuesday in Boston. (Getty/NHL Images)
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Ilya Kovalchuk could be back in the lineup as early as Tuesday night.

Kovalchuk traveled with the Devils to Boston and will know more about his status following Tuesday's morning skate.

The Devils take on the defending Stanley Cup-champion Bruins at 7 p.m.

"We'll see how he is [Tuesday]," said coach Peter DeBoer. "He got through practice; we cut him a little short, didn't want to push the issue because he felt good. We'll skate him again tomorrow morning and see where he's at."

Kovalchuk skated on his own for about 20 minutes on Monday, then joined the team for practice. He was an extra forward along with Rod Pelley.

"I feel good, so I'm going on the trip and we'll see [Tuesday]," Kovalchuk said. "I'll skate one more time and we'll make our decision."

Kovalchuk has missed four games since injuring his lower body at Philadelphia on Nov. 3. He assured reporters that he won't suit up at anything less than full strength.

"If I go play there, I've got to make sure I'm 100 percent," he said. "Why would I go there 60 percent, especially with the way the team's playing right now. All those guys in the lineup, they deserve to be there."

The resilient Devils (8-6-1) have gone 3-1 despite missing one of their top scorers.

"I think we've buckled down and really concentrated on fundamentals and systems," DeBoer said. "It goes to show you that when we do that, personnel can be interchangeable. Having said that, in order to get our game to the next level, we have to incorporate the Kovalchuks and the [Travis] Zajacs of the world and keep that philosophy."

Watching from the sidelines has been tough for Kovalchuk, who hasn't missed more than six games in any of his last eight seasons.

"It's very difficult, but the best part about it, the team played really well," Kovalchuk said. "The guys won three out of four games, and I think they deserved the one they lost [3-1 to Washington on Friday] because they played so well. It's a little easier to watch when the team's doing good."

This year, he's averaged nearly a point per game with two goals, seven assists for nine points in 11 appearances. His absence is felt most on the power play, an area where the Devils have struggled, going 0-for-19 over the last five games.

"We don't change anything philosophically, other than the power play, we don't have the one-timer there," DeBoer said. "We don't make changes based around him, but you're obviously a different team. When he's in the lineup, he has the ability to back teams off, create things out of nothing. It's a weapon that there's only a handful of guys in the League that can do those types of things."

Johan Hedberg gets his second straight start after making 15 saves in Saturday's 3-2 shootout win at Washington. Hedberg improved to 4-1 in shootouts while helping the Devils rebound from Friday's setback at the Rock.

"We looked at the schedule, we looked at some history against these teams in these buildings," DeBoer said. "It was a combination of a lot of different factors. Back-to-back games, we're going to use both guys. That's something that we talked about right from Day 1 of the season. It wasn't a matter of wins or losses, it was more looking at some other factors."

The road trip continues Wednesday in Buffalo, then heads south for stops Saturday in Tampa Bay and Monday in Florida. The Devils return home to host Columbus on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Stat pack
Patrik Elias' seven-game points streak (2g-6a) is the longest active in the League and tied for the longest this season with four others: Jaromir Jagr, Patric Hornqvist, Tomas Fleischmann, Patrice Bergeron. Boston's Tyler Seguin is riding a six-game streak (8g-3a )that's tied with James Neal for the second-longest active streak.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

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