Ilya Kovalchuk, the Russian winger, never became frustrated by his modest scoring record since joining the New Jersey Devils, he said. "To me, it's all about winning," said Kovalchuk, who had a goal and two assists Friday night to help the Devils beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1. "It's nice to score a goal and help others to score, but it's more important to win. "I think the way we've been playing as a team the last few games, I'm going to get my chances to score. I'm not worried about it. I'll get my goals."
Kovalchuk, who had three goals and five assists in his first 10 games after arriving in a trade with Atlanta on February 4, assisted on the Devils' first two goals, then fired home a wrist shot from the blue line for his 35th goal of the season. "I think he played real well," said the Devils' coach, Jacques Lemaire said. "It was good for him. He's been trying to build some confidence. His passes were good, his puck handling was fine. If he keeps scoring goals, then his confidence will grow."
Elsewhere in the NHL, Vaclav Prospal had a goal and two assists while Marian Gaborik scored once and set-up two other goals as the New York Rangers beat the Atlanta Thrashers 5-2. The win pushed the Rangers to within three points of the final Eastern Conference play-off place, and three points ahead of the Thrashers, who have lost five games in a row. "It's still do or die for us," said the Rangers; goalie, Henrik Lundqvist. "We're still in a really tough position. I hope we can compete."
"Obviously, we have to win some games," said Atlanta's coach, John Anderson. "It looks bleak, but it can change very quickly." firstname.lastname@example.org