NEWARK, N.J. — Ilya Kovalchuk gave the New Jersey Devils 100 million reasons to smile on Tuesday night when he helped rally the home team to a 3-2 preseason victory against the Philadelphia Flyers at Prudential Center.
Kovalchuk, who inked a 15-year, $100 million dollar contract with the Devils in the off-season, connected off a splendid individual effort with just 2:19 remaining in the third to give New Jersey coach John MacLean his first victory behind the Devils’ bench — albeit in the preseason. The Devils are 1-0-3 in the preseason and Flyers fell to 3-1-1.
“It’s always nice to get a win,” MacLean said. “”The last couple of games I felt we did good things and it was nice to win at home. Hopefully, we can build off of this.”
There’s no question all eyes will be fixed on Kovalchuk this season. On this night, he didn’t disappoint. With the Devils trailing, 2-1, the veteran drew a tripping penalty on Flyers forward Ben Holmstrom at 13:45 that led to the eventual equalizer by Travis Zajac just 55 seconds later.