NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — After 10 NHL campaigns, 406 regular-season career goals, nine straight 30-goal years and two world championships with Russia, there is something missing from Ilya Kovalchuk’s resume.
The soon-to-be 29-year-old New Jersey Devils right wing has never won an NHL playoff series. To tell the truth, he has never come close. He has played in nine postseason games, and won just one.
His playoff experience is best defined by handshake after a series and wishing someone else good luck or whatever.
It’s not the way anyone wants to be remembered, especially a No. 1 overall pick who has Hall-of-Fame credentials.
But hope springs eternal. New Jersey enters the playoffs on a six-game winning streak, and the Devils have drawn Florida in the first round, a team that has home-ice advantage strictly because the Panthers won an inferior division.