NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk emerged after practice today, marking the first time anybody noticed him since he had scored one goal and set up another when they knocked out the Rangers in the conference finals.
Kovalchuk was virtually absent Wednesday night against the Kings in Game One of the Stanley Cup final and was unavailable for comment a day later. He had a heavy dose of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and record just one shot on goal over 21 minutes of ice time.
"The last game we didn’t win, so I feel bad," Kovalchuk said today. "I didn’t create much. If we would win, then I’ll feel great."
New Jersey is going to need its star winger, who signed a 15-year contract worth $100 million before last season, if they plan to beat the Kings. Kovalchuk had 37 goals and 83 points this season and has seven goals and 18 points in 18 postseason games.The Devils are 6-1 in the postseason when he scores a goal.
He expect to see more of Doughty, the best two-way defenseman on the two remaining teams. Doughty played more than 28 minutes and was on the ice against Kovalchuk every time the Kings had a chance to match their defense pairings with the Devils' lines.
"I don’t think that was a part of that," Kovalchuk said. "[I] don’t take anything away from him, he’s a good defenceman, but I played against some good ‘Ds’ and found a way how to go through them. There are some things I’m supposed to do so that’s what I try, to do them the next game."
--- Bucky Gleason