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Kovalchuk scores goal in return to lineup

NHL.com @NHL
NEW YORK – Atlanta captain Ilya Kovalchuk wasted no time putting his best foot forward.
 
After missing six games and nearly three weeks with a broken bone in his right foot, Kovalchuk was in the lineup Thursday night for the Thrashers’ game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden -- and scored the go-ahead goal in the second period of a 5-3 victory.

After hitting a post earlier in the period, Kovalchuk ripped a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot into the top right corner at 17:41 to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead.

He also had an assist on Rich Peverley's goal 4:02 into the middle period and added another on Maxim Afinogenov's empty-netter for a three-point night.
 
"I don't feel limited," Kovalchuk said Thursday morning while wearing a walking boot on his injured foot. "If I felt limited I would let someone else play."
 
The Thrashers called Kovalchuk a game-time decision Thursday morning, saying they would wait to see how he felt during the pregame warmup. He had been expected to be out for another week, so the two-time 50-goal scorer is returning to the ice ahead of schedule. He was on the ice for the warmup and in the lineup.
 
The Thrashers went 3-3-0 in the six games since Kovalchuk took a slap shot off his foot in the first period against San Jose on Oct. 24.







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