May 4, 2012, 11:08 AM EDT
That the phrase “world class” came from both dressing rooms says it all about Ilya Kovalchuk‘s effort on Thursday night.
“He is a world class player,” Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov said. “He is very dangerous. He played hard. When the team needed him, he defended. He took advantage of his opportunities to shoot the puck.
“He is always dangerous. He is a great player.”
As for Kovalchuk’s snap pass that sprung Alexei Ponikarovsky for the game-winning goal in overtime?
“It’s a world-class play,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “Not many guys have the poise to hold the puck there, recognize a line change on the other team and spring somebody.
“There’s only a handful of guys that can make that play, and we’re fortunate to have him on our team.”
In addition to setting up Ponikarovsky’s goal, No. 17 also assisted on the Devils’ opening tally before scoring the second himself. That Kovalchuk did this with a back injury — believed to be a herniated disc — only adds to the aura.
He also played 19:29, not bad for a guy that missed Game 2 because the injury was too painful to play with.
“I feel a lot better compared to almost the whole first series and then the first game of the second series,” Kovalchuk said. “I want to say thanks to all the trainers and doctors. They did a great job. Now, hopefully, I’m just going to move on and feel better every day.”
Sounds like New Jersey’s medical staff is world class, too.
- IIHF, NHL to meet next month to discuss World Cup 0
- Caps unveil new Winter Classic jerseys 19
- Drouin out 3-4 weeks with fractured thumb 3
- On carrying three goalies, and which teams might be forced to do it 8
- Bettman: NHL won’t expand ‘just to fulfill somebody’s notion of symmetry’ 10
- Report: Johansen lowers demands, but not low enough 35
- Injuries piling up as preseason schedule begins 11
- Report: Fedorov denies contract offer was made to Johansen 8
- Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers 44
- Update: Drouin out with upper body injury, not expected to miss preseason 1
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (65)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (55)
- Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers (44)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)
- Just how damaging are heated negotiations between Jackets, RFA Johansen? (38)