NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- llya Kovalchuk has been avoiding questions about his health and his lack of scoring for days, and nothing has changed with the New Jersey Devils on the brink of being eliminated from the playoffs by the Florida Panthers.
Asked about his health, the superstar right wing smiled, and said he was fine. He said rumors about a groin injury were inaccurate.
When questioned about having only two goals in five games, Kovalchuk steered the conversation to the Devils playing well in their own end.
What Kovalchuk was willing to talk about was his team. He likes the Devils' chances in Game 6 against the Panthers Tuesday night at the Prudential Center, and knows what he has to do to force a deciding Game 7 in this first-round East series.
The game plan won't be for Kovalchuk to singlehandedly carry the Devils, who are on the verge of exiting the playoffs in the first round for the fourth time in a row, save for last season of course, when they didn't even qualify.