The New Jersey Devils continued their strong play on the road and Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 12th career hat trick – and first as a Devil – as the New Jersey Devils dispatched the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 at First Niagara Center.
Tuesday night was a microcosm of just how fantastic Ilya Kovalchuk has been this season. He has sacrificed a bit of his offensive game to hone his defensive game all in the name of winning – but on this night – he was rewarded for his efforts.
It was Kovalchuk’s first hat trick in nearly three years and the 12th hat trick of his career. The sniper is now tied with Jarome Iginla for second among active players behind only Teemu Selanne’s 22.
Kovalchuk has elevated his play over the last 15-plus games. He’s collected 13 goals and 13 assists in his last 17 games and now has 25 goals and 56 points in only 51 games this season, surpassing Patrik Elias for the team lead.
What stood out most to me was how Kovalchuk was able to secure the third and final…

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