New Jersey Gamebreaker: Ilya Kovalchuk

Mike G. Morreale April 11, 2010

Wondering what keeps New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk up at night? How about the fact he’s never won a Stanley Cup Playoff game in his seven-plus seasons.

“Our team (Atlanta) lost all four games in our only playoff appearance (in 2006-07), but I remember the great atmosphere in those games,” Kovalchuk said. “But I’m still looking for first win in the playoffs.”

The fact Kovalchuk had been winless in the postseason was of no concern to Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello when he pulled the trigger on a five-player trade with the Thrashers in February to acquire the perennial 40-goal scorer….

While Kovalchuk adds a similar dynamic offensive presence for the Devils, not to mention a cannon for a shot, he also has an insatiable appetite to succeed at both ends and a powerful presence on the power-play. Kovalchuk has scored at least 12 power-play goals in each of the last six seasons.

“He’s been very steady in his work,” Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said of Kovalchuk. “He’s played hard since he’s been here. He makes things happen either for him or guys’ he’s playing with.”…

“He knows how to make other people around him better, as you can see by the assists he gets,” Lamoriello said. “He can do things that a lot of people can’t do.”

Kovalchuk is just the type of game-breaker the Devils will need to advance deep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs….

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