Devils impressed by Ilya Kovalchuk’s unselfish play on empty net goal

Ilya Kovalchuk’s skills as one of the NHL’s most dynamic offensive players have impressed the Devils since long before he was acquired in a Feb. 4 trade with the Atlanta Thrashers.

What Kovalchuk did in the final seconds of Saturday night’s victory over the Montreal Canadiens, however, may have been most impressive of all.

With the Devils leading by a goal and Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak on the bench for an extra skater, Kovalchuk was looking at an empty net with just over 10 seconds remaining. Instead of shooting, he dropped the puck back for linemate Brian Rolston, who fired it in to put the game away.

Why did he give the puck up?

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