Devils coach Jacques Lemaire has talked repeatedly about left wing Ilya Kovalchuk’s desire to become a better player defensively. His teammates also are noticing.
Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists Sunday for his first three-point game of the season, but forward Patrik Elias singled out Kovalchuk for his defensive play.
“I think Kovy has been in the last couple of games probably playing the best defensively I’ve seen him play ever,” Elias said. “He’s not going to do it every time, every night, but he’s getting there. He’s making the plays.”
Kovalchuk wasn’t satisfied, though.
“Yeah, but I was minus-1 again [Sunday], so those kind of bounces follow me all year long,” he said. “But I’m going to battle through that. Jacques puts me in all of those different situations and I want to be responsible and I just want to be there.”
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