|Kovalchuk had three goals in the first round. (Getty Images)|
Maybe something is indeed wrong with Ilya Kovalchuk right now after all.
According to Devils beat writer Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record, Kovalchuk wasn't with the team on Monday, a day off after Sunday's overtime loss in Philadelphia. Instead, he was undergoing some "therapy," per a team spokesperson.
Therapy for what? That's unclear. After all, every time that Kovalchuk or the Devils have been asked if he is nursing an injury, it's insisted he is fine.
Gulitti's best guess is that he's being bothered by something in the lower back. Something just doesn't seem right.
It's not like Kovalchuk to be almost completely unnoticeable on the ice like he was in Game 1 vs. Philadelphia. Yes, he had a secondary assist on the day but in his 21-plus minutes on ice, he didn't have a shot. Not one. Again, not very Kovalchuk-like.
Neither 21 minutes nor zero shots are common for him. At all. You have to go back to November for the last time he didn't have a shot in a game.
With that said, don't expect him to miss any time because of this, that much should be clear by now. He has been in every postseason game to this point, some nagging soreness isn't likely going to keep him down.
"He'll be all right," Zach Parise said.
Sure, he might be alright to play, but the question is more about how close to 100 percent is he. It's obvious that New Jersey needs a healthy Kovalchuk out there, he produces a lot of offense for them. When they are on the power play, it isn't uncommon at all for Kovalchuk to never leave the ice.
If he's not at his best, neither are the Devils.