Originally posted on Tonight's Healthy Scratches  |  Last updated 5/3/12

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Brian Rolston (L) of the New Jersey Devils scores a power play goal at 7:44 of the second period and is greeted by Ilya Kovalchuk in their game against the New York Islanders at the Prudential Center on October 1, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

"You're adding our leading scorer, one of the top five scorers in the League, so I think it can't do anything but help."

Boy, Devils head coach Peter DeBoer was pretty spot on with his assessment at Thursday morning's media session of the return of Ilya Kovalchuk, wasn't he?

Kovalchuk was reportedly hindered by a herniated disc in his lower back since midway through New Jersey's first-round series with Florida. He sat out Game 2 of the Devils' second-round series with the Philadelphia Flyers with what the team described as a "lower-body injury."

Tonight though, he returned for his team's third tilt in front of the home crowd in Newark with a bang.

The Russian sniper had a hand in all three of New Jersey's goals, including a long stretch pass to Alex Ponikarovsky on the game-winning goal with just over two minutes to play in the first overtime session.

The Devils, who defeated the Flyers, 4-1 without their star winger in Game 2, needed extra time to outlast Philadelphia tonight. But Kovalchuk almost prevented the game from even getting that far. With New Jersey clinging to a 3-2 lead, Kovalchuk carried into the Philadelphia zone and fired a shot past Ilya Bryzgalov and off the iron.

The near-goal, which would have given the Devils a 4-2 lead, would have been Kovalchuk's fifth goal in nine games thus far in the 2012 postseason.

Just second later, Danny Briere, who seems to be the only Flyers' forward not seemingly still hungover from their long layoff after ousting the Penguins in the first round, scooped up a rebound off James van Riemsdyk's shot and tied the game roughly midway through the final period of regulation.

Just 20 seconds after helping set-up Patrik Elias' game-tying bomb on the power play in the first period, Kovalchuk took a feed from Travis Zajac in the middle of the Flyers' zone and blistered a wrist shot passed Bryzgalov's glove, giving the Devils a 2-1 lead.

The Devils, who hold a 2-1 series lead over the Flyers, take to the Rock again on Sunday, as they look to put a stranglehold on their state-line rivals.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim McElwain still won't name Will Grier Florida's starter

Steve Smith has microfractures in back, out for Week 5

Cowboys want Brandon Weeden to attempt longer passes

Nebraska captain tells crowd 'I'm sorry we suck'

Report: Dolphins could fire some coaches if team loses to Jets

Georgia fans get #FireRicht trending on Twitter


Mark Fox paints body, wears shoulder spikes in student section

WATCH: Nick Chubb ties Herschel Walker's record

WATCH: Ohio St. WR penalized for 'throat slash' celebration

Brice Ramsey replacing Greyson Lambert at QB for Georgia

Texas Rangers tweet ‘Fire Charlie’ after Longhorns loss

Milwaukee Bucks introduce alternate court and uniform combo

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rick Pitino and the shadows that never leave

Chad Johnson ... Steelers kicker?

Flacco deserves more from the Ravens

Time for Neymar's Barcelona

Seth Rollins, WWE depth, Divas and winning

Madison Keys and the future of women’s tennis

Most underrated games in NFL Week 4

What to watch in CFB Week 5

Starter strategies for final, tie-breaker and wild card games

Five outrageous predictions for NFL Week 4

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker