Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Potential Loss Mars Win

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Potential Loss Mars Win

Article excerpt

NEWARK - That the Devils held on to beat the Florida Panthers, 2- 1, Saturday night was definitely important to their playoff chances.

Still, that was overshadowed by right wing Ilya Kovalchuk leaving the game in the third period with a right shoulder injury.

Kovalchuk fell hard into the end boards to the right of the Florida net after attempting a shot on the rush 9:07 into the third period. Kovalchuk's right shoulder appeared to take the brunt of the impact.

After remaining down briefly, Kovalchuk got up and skated off hunched over and immediately exited to the locker room. He did not return.

Devils coach Pete DeBoer said he did not know "the details or the extent" of Kovalchuk's injury, yet.

"He's going to get some testing here [Saturday night] and [this] morning and we'll know more [today]," DeBoer said.

DeBoer conceded that Kovalchuk will "be out at least a short time."

The news was better on center Tim Sestito, who also left the game after he was crosschecked from behind into the boards by Florida's Colby Robak 9:25 into the third period.

"He'll be fine," DeBoer said of Sestito.

Robak received a five-minute major for crosschecking and a game misconduct for the hit. The Devils were unable to convert on the extended power play, however, with Kovalchuk out.

Second-period goals from Patrik Elias and David Clarkson proved to be enough to get the Devils their second win in a row and extend their lead over eighth-place Carolina and the ninth-place Rangers to four points.

It was the first meeting between the teams since their seven- game first-round playoff series last season, which the Devils won on Adam Henrique's double-overtime goal.

Right wing Matt D'Agostini made his Devils' debut after being acquired in Friday's trade with St. Louis. D'Agostini began the game skating on the third line with Ryan Carter at left wing and Henrique at center, but DeBoer shuffled his lines after the Devils managed only two shots on goal in the first period -- both by Steve Bernier.

In fact, the Devils did not register a shot on goal in the final 16:15 of the period after Bernier's pass intended for Andrei Loktionov deflected off the skate of Panthers center Marcel Goc, forcing Scott Clemmensen to make a right pad save. …

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