Ilya Kovalchuk’s absence from the Devils lineup has been more than felt by the team. They’re losers of nine in a row, every game that Kovalchuk’s missed since getting hurt on March 23 against Florida. While he’s skating with the team again, he’s not quite ready for action.
“But still I think I need a few more days just to get the strength back in the hand and in the shoulder,” he said.
He tells Gulitti he still can’t take a one-timer and has just been taking wrist shots in practice. The Devils play Toronto on Monday and Kovalchuk won’t be back for that one.
With how he’s progressing, a return on Thursday against Philly isn’t out of the question but there’s no doubt the team needs him back. Coach Peter DeBoer said he’d take him back at less than 100-percent. There’s no doubt he’d want him back now.
As it is, New Jersey is four points back of the Rangers for eighth in the East, but with seven games remaining they can’t afford to lose much more. On the upside, they’ve got two games remaining with the Rangers at Madison Square Garden including their final game of the season.
Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.