Jun 13, 2012, 12:54 PM EDT
It was a poorly-kept secret Ilya Kovalchuk was playing through pain in the Stanley Cup finals. He didn’t look like the dynamic offensive powerhouse he was in the first three rounds and having to deal with the physically punishing Kings made matters worse.
Today, Devils coach Peter DeBoer confirmed what everyone believed to be true in that Kovalchuk was playing through a back injury. NHL.com’s Dan Rosen reports DeBoer saying Kovalchuk’s back was in such rough shape he was playing “well below 100 percent.”
Kovalchuk had just one goal, an empty-netter in Game 4, during the finals but finished the postseason tied for the playoff lead in goals scored with eight and third in points with 19, one behind both Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. While that offense all came in the first three rounds for Kovalchuk, you wonder how differently things would’ve turned out if he was fully healthy. Kovalchuk finished fifth in the NHL in points this season.
- MacKinnon, Avs shine against Wild, take 2-0 series lead 7
- Video: Roenick says MacKinnon is more dominant at 18 than Crosby was 9
- Blue Jackets gain first-ever playoff win, tie series with Penguins 1-1 33
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) 108
- WATCH LIVE: Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 2) 4
- Blues come back to stun Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime, take 2-0 series lead 30
- WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues (Game 2) 4
- Flyers’ Mason out of Game 2, Emery to start again 51
- Lucic fined $5,000 for spearing DeKeyser 77
- Getzlaf powers Ducks to Game 2 victory, 2-0 series lead over Stars 7