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Shoulder injury sidelines Kovalchuk 2-4 weeks

Sunday, 03.24.2013 / 1:35 PM NHL.com

According to New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, the team's star right wing Ilya Kovalchuk will miss two to four weeks with an injured right shoulder.

According to The (Bergen) Record's Tom Gulitti, Lamoriello said X-rays of the shoulder were negative and that Kovalchuk will have an MRI examination Sunday afternoon. Lamoriello also said that Kovalchuk will not require surgery, but never said specifically what the injury to the shoulder involved.

Kovalchuk was hurt Saturday during the Devils' 2-1 victory against the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center. He was placed on injured reserve Sunday.

He appeared to hurt his right shoulder when he broke in 1-on-4 before losing his edge and barreling into the end boards behind the Panthers' net with 10:53 remaining in the third period and New Jersey leading 2-1. He was attempting to curl around defenseman Colby Robak on the play. Kovalchuk skated off the ice on his own power, wincing in pain, and went right to the Devils' dressing room.

"Injuries are a part of this and everybody is dealing with them, so we have to be prepared for that," New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said Saturday night. "I think, mentally, coming into this season, we were prepared that we were going to have to lose key people and survive it. No one is feeling sorry for us and we'll get through it."

With Kovalchuk missing at least two weeks, the Devils once again will have to dig deep without the services of a key player. The team currently is seventh in the Eastern Conference with 15 wins and 36 points.

Kovalchuk has 10 goals and 27 points in 32 games this season. He is used in every situation by DeBoer and leads all NHL forwards in average time on ice per game, playing a bit more than 25 minutes per game -- 3:10 more per game than Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who is the next most used forward in the League.

The Devils on Sunday also placed left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky on injured reserve, retroactive to March 19, and recalled left wing Harri Pesonen from Albany, the team's American Hockey League affiliate. Pesonen had no points in a recent three-game call-up.

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