New Jersey Devils: Ilya Kovalchuk Scores Goal Number 400

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IMarch 20, 2012

On Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators, Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 400th career goal on the power play off a one-timer from Marek Zidlicky.

Kovalchuk, who sees more power play time than any other player in the NHL, fired a bomb past the blocker side of Ottawa goalie Ben Bishop. It was Kovalchuk's first goal in the past five games. 

Reaction-less, Kovalchuk simply lowered his stick and calmly accepted his kudos from teammates. Kovy looked more like a man in an office doing work rather than a hockey player. No other forward in the game makes scoring from the blue line look easier than Kovalchuk. 

Kovalchuk, the first overall pick of the 2001 draft—by the now defunct Atlanta Thrashers—has scored thirty or more goals in the past nine seasons. He fell just one short of thirty in his rookie campaign with Atlanta.

After being heavily criticized for his somewhat lackluster play under coach John MacLean, Kovalchuk is earning every penny of his huge contract. He has also become a more complete player, a great teammate, and an important leader for the Devils.

Kovy is just over the point per game mark and is enjoying his most productive season since his 2008-09 season in Atlanta.  

The Devils are currently jockeying for position in the Atlantic Division in hopes for a home-ice advantage in the playoffs. Kovalchuk has continued to do an excellent job in making sure that becomes a reality.