Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google

NEWS

Kovalchuk felt 'best so far' at Friday practice

Friday, 04.19.2013 / 3:12 PM / News
NHL.com
X
Share with your Friends


Kovalchuk felt \'best so far\' at Friday practice




 
NEWARK, N.J. -- Ilya Kovalchuk called practice on Friday one of his best since he hurt his shoulder almost four weeks ago, meaning there is a chance the New Jersey Devils could have their high-scoring right wing back in the lineup as early as Saturday afternoon, when they face the Florida Panthers.

Kovalchuk, though, is still hesitant to make any predictions.

"We were taking one-timers and this is definitely one of the better days in a long time," Kovalchuk said. "The coaches will decide and we'll see [Saturday]."

The Devils on Thursday snapped a 10-game winless streak (0-6-4) that coincided with Kovalchuk's absence. They are still mathematically alive in the Stanley Cup Playoff race, but even with the 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers they remain six points out of eighth with only five games remaining.

They could fall to eight points out if the New York Rangers win in Buffalo on Friday night.

"We're still fighting for our lives for a playoff spot and we want to ice the best possible team we can," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "Obviously [Kovalchuk] would be a part of that."

Kovalchuk did not skate on a regular line during the regular portion of practice Friday and was instead rotating in with Andrei Loktionov, Krystofer Barch and Tom Kostopoulos. He stayed on for a lengthy extra skate with those players as well as defensemen Alexander Urbom and Anton Volchenkov.

However, none of that means Kovalchuk wouldn't be able to play Saturday if he responds well.

"I didn't skate with the contact at all for three weeks and [Friday] we were doing one-on-ones and two-on-twos," Kovalchuk said. "I feel pretty good and we'll see how I respond [Friday night] and [Saturday] morning we'll decide."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 41 10 16 -2 26
J. Jagr 44 9 16 -11 25
M. Cammalleri 36 15 6 -3 21
P. Elias 38 6 15 -13 21
M. Zidlicky 48 4 16 -8 20
M. Ryder 42 6 12 -2 18
T. Zajac 40 8 8 -6 16
S. Gomez 24 4 12 -6 16
S. Bernier 33 6 7 1 13
M. Havlat 30 5 8 -9 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 17 19 4 .921 2.37
K. Kinkaid 1 3 3 .913 2.54