BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - New Jersey forward Ilya Kovalchuk returned to the lineup Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres, and scored a power-play goal in the first period.
Kovalchuk had missed the past five games because of a groin injury sustained on Nov. 3 against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Devils were 3-2 without him.
Kovalchuk's goal just over 5 minutes into the game was his third of the season, and snapped a seven-game goal drought going back to the fourth game of the season against Nashville.
He entered with nine points in 11 games.