Ilya Kovalchuk hits 40-goal mark once again

Atlanta Thrashers forward Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 40th goal of the season and added an assist on Saturday night in a 6-3 win over Ottawa, marking the fifth consecutive season that he has hit the 40-goal plateau.  Kovalchuk must have impressed Russian National Team coach Slava Bykov, who along with his assistant coach, was on hand Saturday night at Philips Arena; Kovalchuk will likely play for Bykov at the IIHF World Championships, which take place in Switzerland next month.  Kovy was the hero at last year’s World Championships in Quebec, as he scored the game-tying and game-winning goals against Canada to lead Russia to the Gold.  After a slow start to the season, Ilya now has scored 28 goals in his last 38 games, still leaving the possibility that he can reach the 50-goal mark, which he has already reached twice in his relatively young career. Kovalchuk was named captain earlier in the season, and from that point on, has taken off; he is now only 6 goals away from 300.