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Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Ilya Kovalchuk sits vs. Canes

By Katie Strang
ESPNNewYork.com

NEWARK, N.J. -- Ilya Kovalchuk missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. The 28-year-old winger took part in the Devils' morning skate but was ruled out for Tuesday's 3-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at Prudential Center.

"He won't play, but obviously (he's) getting better," coach Pete DeBoer said following the skate.

Kovalchuk, who skated for the first time since Saturday, said he hopes to return by Friday, when the Devils begin a home-and-home set against the Washington Capitals.

"I feel much better," Kovalchuk said. "It's good we have a couple days before Friday and Saturday's back-to-backs, so I'll try to be ready for those."

Kovalchuk reportedly suffered the injury while back-checking during the Devils' 4-3 shootout win over the Flyers on Thursday.

Noting his charge's improvement since then, DeBoer feels confident Kovalchuk could play this weekend.

"Anytime you have an injury like that, it's tough to predict exactly how it's going to come along, but he's made huge strides the past three, four days," DeBoer said. "If he continues to do that, I think he probably will."

Defenseman Andy Greene, who has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, said he will take warm-ups and plans on playing.

"I'm going to give it a try," he said.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPNNewYork.com.