NEWARK, N.J. _ New Jersey star right winger Ilya Kovalchuk took part in his team's morning skate on Thursday and it appears he will play tonight against the Flyers.
The 29-year-old Russian missed Tuesday's 4-1 win over the Flyers with a lower-back injury.
Kovalchuk, who scored 37 goals in the regular season, said the decision on whether he plays was up to coach Pete DeBoer.
But he added, "I'm ready to go." He said doctors and trainers had performed "a little magic."
DeBoer said it will be a game-time decision.
The series is tied at one game apiece.
At the morning skate, Kovalchuk was on the fourth line with Ryan Carter and and Stephen Gionta. The Devils' other three lines remained intact.
"Obviously, he brings a threat. He's a superstar," Carter said. "I don't think you can count on one hand what he brings to the table. He's a big part of our team and brings a liot of energy."
Carter called Kovalchuk "a dynamic player who demands their (the Flyers') attention. I think it will be important for us to continue to play our game, but embrace him if he comes back."
Carter said "the mandate tonight is for us to get off to a good start. I think the tendency after you play a game like that and have success is to maybe take your foot off the gas a little bit, but against this team, they'll only make you pay for it. We're in our building, our ice, and we have to find a way to get our fans into it and bring energy right off the bat and put them on their heels."
Kovalchuk explained why he missed Game 2.
"When you feel you cannot do anything good for the team, you have to make the decision (to sit)," he said. "It was tough, especially in the playoffs. You want to play. But when something bothers you, it is better to sit a couple days and regroup. Let the doctors do their thing and feel better and play better."
Future matters. A source said resigning defenseman Matt Carle is a higher priority for the Flyers than right winger Jaromir Jagr. That said, the source added that the Flyers want to resign both prospective free agents.
Breakaways. No Flyers regulars took part in Thursday morning's optional skate at the Prudential Center, where the goalies on the ice were Sergei Bobrovsky and Michael Leighton. The Flyers practiced on Wednesday, the Devils did not......Claude Giroux had a a six-game points streak stopped Tuesday....In the last three playoff seasons, Danny Briere leads the NHL with 26 goals, followed by Giroux with 18....Hard to believe, Harry: In the Flyers' eight playoff games this year, the team that has scored first has a 1-7 record....The Flyers are 34-33 all-time in Game 3 of best-of-seven series.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.