Devils keep faint playoff hopes alive

The New Jersey Devils refuse to wave the white flag on what has been an inconsistent season. After getting off to a horrendous start, the Devils, who at one point were 20 points out of a play-off position, caught fire by going 19-2-2 in their last 23 games. A huge reason for the Devils turn around is the sudden emergence of power forward, Ilya Kovalchuk, who in recent weeks has really picked up his game. On Friday Kovalchuk kept the play-off drive alive when he scored an overtime winner in a 2-1 decision against the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the win, New Jersey are now only eight points out of a playoff position. Also playing a huge role in the victory was, future hockey hall of famer, Martin Brodeur, who was solid in stopping 25 shots in the victory. “Marty was really good,” Devils’ coach, Jacques Lemaire, said. “Not as much Kovy. Kovy scored the big goal. That’s what he is getting paid for, but tonight I know he can play better. He … can … play better.” Kovalchuk, who signed a lucrative 15 year extension in September, has now scored the game winner in six of his last 12 games. Kovalchuk, who now has 23 goals on the season, scored the winner while on the power play. Besides Kovalchuk, also scoring for the Devils was Travis Zajac. Meanwhile replying for the Penguins was forward,Tyler Kennedy. “We thought we deserved better,” Pittsburgh forward, Mike Rupp said. “The bottom line is things haven’t gone our way, so we are going to keep building on it, and keep going. Eventually we’ll be able to get out of the little funk we are in and start winning these games.”

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