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Kovy making a point beyond scoresheet

Wednesday, 02.06.2013 / 4:24 PM / News
By Eric Marin


Ilya Kovalchuk
's point production may have dipped since the first week of the season, but head coach Peter DeBoer says there's no cause for alarm.

"I'm not worried about Kovy," DeBoer said after Wednesday's optional practice. "Kovy's on board, Kovy's doing a lot of little things the right way that are helping us win games. He's on the ice all the time, and he's getting chances. Those are eventually going to go in for him."

The Devils' leading scorer last season (37g-46a-83pts) opened the new year with two goals and three assists in his first four games, including a successful shorthanded penalty shot. He's since gone five games without a point, and was limited to one shot in Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Rangers.

"I think I can produce more, that's for sure," Kovalchuk said. "But overall, I think we're playing well and the team's doing good so it doesn't really matter."

He'd like to see the team be more productive 5-on-5.

"It's only (nine) games we've played and it's still kind of like a training camp for everybody," Kovalchuk said. "I'm pretty sure we'll be better as the season goes on."

But Kovalchuk's role as a scorer shouldn't diminish the contributions he makes beyond the scoresheet.

"He takes a lot of personal pressure for us to win and for him to score," DeBoer said. "When you're winning 1-0 or losing 2-1 like we did in Boston, he takes that personally. For me, you can't lose sight of all the other good things he's doing, that the goals will come."

Right now the goals are coming from David Clarkson, who leads the Devils with seven after tallying twice against the Rangers. Only Patrick Marleau (9) and Thomas Vanek (8) have lit the lamp more times, and only Marleau (5) has more than Clarkson's four power-play markers.

Clarkson's (2g-1a) line with Patrik Elias (3a) and Adam Henrique (1g) combined for three goals and four assists versus Henrik Lundqvist as the Devils (5-1-3) won their second in a row since a four-game winless skid.

"It's all about the team," Kovalchuk said. "If we'll be struggling as a team, it'll be a different story. It'll be tough. But right now everything's working, knock on wood, and it doesn't matter–Clarky and Patty's line, they're doing really well, and it's great for our team. It says a lot.

High-scoring Tampa Bay comes to town Thursday, followed by a visit from the Penguins on Saturday to open a weekend home-and-home. The tandem of Martin Brodeur (4-1-2, 2.51 GAA, .907 save pct) and Johan Hedberg (1-0-1, 0.48 GAA, .980 save pct) will need to continue its strong play.

"We've gotten great goaltending so far," DeBoer said. "That's a key for any team in this league. It gives you a chance to win every night."

• Devils penalty killers are a perfect 15-for-15 since allowing three PPGs to the Islanders last Thursday.

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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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