10. Devils trade for Ilya Kovalchuk – The Devils aren’t known for grabbing superstars, especially in mid-season trades, but for whatever reason, Lou Lamoriello felt adding Kovalchuk would be what the Devils needed. Well, it didn’t work right away, and despite Gary Bettman trying everything he could to prevent the signing, Ilya signed with the Devils forever, or so it seems. I’m sure a few jars of jelly were tossed over the summer that was, but here’s the trade to New Jersey.
9. The Great Rush – In game 1 of the playoffs against the Flyers last year, Ilya Kovalchuk took the game over, at least for one shift. I know the bottom line is, he didn’t bury it, but this end-to-end rush gave Devils fans a preview of what the next 15 years could be like.
8. Fight with Phaneuf – It was the day after Christmas 2010, and nothing could go right for the Devils, or Ilya Kovalchuk, for that matter, since he had been slumping miserably, as the whole team had. Ilya finally showed his anger as he tangled with Dion Phaneuf.
7. Breaking out at MSG – While Kovy had experienced some success against the arch-rival NY Rangers early in his Devils career, the Devils hadn’t. This time, things would be different. Unfortunately, few Devils fans were around by the end of the game, since everyone had already had a heart attack by then.
6. The Flower blooms – Some Devils fans thought this game was a classic, and while I don’t agree with that, this goal is certainly one of the more memorable from Kovy’s first year in New Jersey. The celebration speaks for itself. Fleury wasn’t exactly thrilled after this one, either.