New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk will return to the lineup Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres (7:30 p.m, VERSUS HD, TSN2), as New Jersey looks to bounce back from a loss to the Boston Bruins.
Coach Pete DeBoer said Kovalchuk, who missed five straight games while nursing a groin injury, is "chomping at the bit" for his return. Kovalchuk said he's excited to play again and preached the importance of Wednesday's game.
"It's nice to be back," he said, having missed the last five games with a groin injury. "It's a big game for us. We have to beat those teams ahead of us in the standings."
The Devils lost 4-3 in Boston Tuesday night when Bruins forward Benoit Pouliot tallied the winning goal with 3:01 remaining in regulation. After the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien implied that New Jersey was playing for a tie during the third period. DeBoer took offense to the comments.
"No. I don't agree with that," DeBoer said. "Claude should look at our schedule and see we were playing our third game in five nights with some injuries. And he's got pretty much a full healthy team. I think it's an irresponsible quote."