You probably noticed both Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk didn’t bring much to the table in Game 1. While Parise showed a lot of effort, Kovalchuk was a complete non-factor.
After the game, Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi told PHT keeping both in check is vitally important.
“[Kovalchuk’s] a special player. Both of them are very explosive offensively,” Scuderi said. “They get their teammates involved, they have great shots. They’re just great hockey players.
“Certainly anytime we can keep those guys off the score sheet we give ourselves a better shot to win a hockey game.”
Scuderi was complimentary, but make no mistake — Kovalchuk had a bad game and admitted as much to Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger.
“I thought it was probably the worst game of the playoffs for us,” Kovalchuk said. “Maybe we were a little too nervous.”
At the very least, Kovalchuk is good at keeping his teammates alive and well on the bench — just ask Ryan Carter (video courtesy The Score).