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Tonight on Versus: No Kovalchuk for Devils-Hurricanes showdown? Could be

Ilya Kovalchuk

You’d think that a team that’s won a couple games in a row would be feeling good about things heading into a game against a team that’s lost two in a row and talking about a potential shake up.

Such is not the case as the Devils take on the Hurricanes (7:30 p.m. ET) as the Devils may likely be going into tonight’s game without Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk has been the Devils’ all-world Mr. Everything this season. He’s led them in minutes played by nearly two minutes a game over rookie Adam Larsson. He’s playing on the penalty kill, the power play, as well as left and right wing. You name it, he’s doing it.

Without him in the lineup, the Devils have to spread it around a bit more. Zach Parise and Adam Henrique have benefited from both having Kovalchuk there and going without him in the meantime. With all that going on, the Devils have the oldest pair of goalies doing things in Johan Hedberg and Martin Brodeur. Brodeur is still trying to come back from a shoulder injury and has looked shaky since then.

Carolina, meanwhile, has a captain in Eric Staal that’s having a miserable start to his season. While Jeff Skinner carries the offense, Staal has been snake bitten to the nth degree. Cam Ward has been OK in goal but the Hurricanes defense struggles still. Jussi Jokinen being out of action isn’t helping things and GM Jim Rutherford is talking about shake ups coming if things don’t get fixed soon.

Do the Canes snap out of it or do the Devils win again without Kovalchuk?