Alexei Kovalev has developed into one of the top clutch performers in the National Hockey League. The numbers don't lie.
The right winger has tallied nearly half (15 of his 33 goals) in the third period this season, tying Ottawa's Marian Hossa and Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi for the NHL lead.
Since returning to the Rangers in a trade on February 10, Kovalev has registered at least one point in eight of his 11 games. In his first 11 games back with the Blueshirts, he has tallied six goals and three assists for nine points, including three power play goals and one game-winner. The team has posted a 6-3-2-0 mark over the span.
2002-2003 THIRD PERIOD GOALS: (as of 3/4/03) 1. Alexei Kovalev / New York Rangers - 15 Marian Hossa / Ottawa Senators - 15 Todd Bertuzzi / Vancouver Canucks - 15 4. Alexander Mogilny / Toronto Maple Leafs - 14 5. Martin St. Louis / Tampa Bay Lightning - 14