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Ilya Kovalchuk returns to Devils lineup today

Apr 20, 2013, 11:09 AM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk Getty Images

Do the New Jersey Devils have another push for the playoffs left in them? We’ll find out this afternoon as they’re getting Ilya Kovalchuk back in the lineup against Florida.

Kovalchuk hasn’t played since suffering a shoulder injury on March 23 against those same Panthers and the Devils were worse for the wear because of it dropping 10 straight games following his injury. They broke their string of losses on Thursday night beating the Flyers 3-0. Coach Pete DeBoer says trade deadline acquisition Steve Sullivan will sit out to make room for him.

Even after missing 11 games, Kovalchuk is still second on the team in points with 27, just four behind Patrik Elias. What won’t surprise you is New Jersey’s offense has tanked out with him out of the lineup. The Devils are last in the league in goals scored with 99. And you wonder how they managed to lose 10 in a row.

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