Ilya Kovalchuk clearly benefited from the time off

Ilya Kovalchuk sure looked “fresh” in the New Jersey Devils’ 4-3 OT win in Game 3 against the Philadelphia Flyers after sitting out Game 2 with what might have been a bad back. In fact, sign me up for whatever treatment he underwent, as he scored a goal and two assists in a masterful performance.

He collected his first two points in a 20-second span and then exploited a bad Flyers line change in OT to set up Alexei Ponikarovsky’s winning play. Kovalchuk was clearly amped up to be back in the mix beyond that, too; cameras caught him furiously arguing a delay of game penalty and he also had an animated response to a near-goal when the Devils were up 3-2.

Overall, Kovalchuk received 22:09 time on ice, which might be a little low compared to what he would have seen in almost four periods of hockey. Still, he got his reps and obviously made the most of his opportunities on Thursday.

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