The Devils hope to have the high-scoring Russian back on the ice tonight when they clash with the Sabres.
Kovalchuk has missed the last five games for the Devils with a lower-body injury and has two goals and nine points in 11 games this season. He netted 31 goals a season ago and was a game-time decision in last night's meeting with Boston, but was ultimately held out by head coach Peter DeBoer.
"He was real close [to playing]," DeBoer said. "We'll see how he wakes up [Wednesday], if there's any stiffness, and we'll make a decision. He wants to play, that's the good news. He wants to get out there and help the team."
The Devils found themselves even at one goal apiece with the Bruins last night heading into the third period. The two clubs then erupted for five goals in the final frame, but three came from Boston in a 4-3 defeat for New Jersey.
Nick Palmieri scored twice in the third for his first career multi-goal game and David Clarkson also had a goal for the Devils, who dropped to 4-2 in their last six games. Johan Hedberg played well in defeat, making 33 stops.
"We got away from our game plan," DeBoer said. "They took us off our game plan a little bit and we didn't respond the right way. We didn't win enough faceoffs, we didn't do enough of the little things at the end to win games and that's what good teams do."
Dainius Zubrus had notched a goal and four assists over his previous four games before going without a point last night, and is expected to play in his 1,000th career game this evening.
Martin Brodeur will get the call in net for the Devils and he split two games versus the Sabres last year, winning once in a 1-0 overtime shutout on Oct. 13. That was the lone victory for New Jersey last year over Buffalo, which outscored the Devils 13-5 in taking the final three encounters.
It marked only the second time in club history that Buffalo won three games against New Jersey in a single season.
The Sabres opened up play without Miller on Monday, winning a 3-2 shootout decision in Montreal. Buffalo's netminder is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion versus Boston on Saturday.
Miller sustained the head injury when he was run into by the Bruins' Milan Lucic while both players went for a loose puck inside of a faceoff circle during the first period. Lucic was given a charging penalty, but was not suspended by the league for the hit.
Miller spoke with the media on Tuesday and wasn't happy that Lucic did not receiver further discipline.
"I have the concussion symptoms and I have a little bit of whiplash. We decided to talk more freely about it because we thought there was a reason to with the incident with Lucic and we thought the league needed to make some kind of judgement," said Miller. "It didn't quite work out the way we thought it could, definitely disappointed in that, but you just move forward I guess."
Jhonas Enroth figures to get the bulk of the starts while Miller is out and has yet to lose this season. He made 25 saves in Monday's win, moving to 6-0-0 with a 1.76 goals-against average and .942 save percentage on the year. Enroth is 13-0-1 in his last 14 decisions since his last regulation loss on Nov. 24, 2010.
Down by two goals heading into the third period on Monday, head coach Lindy Ruff moved Derek Roy back to a line with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Roy and Pominville both scored in the third period to force extra time and Brad Boyes had the game-winner in the shootout's second round.
"We proved we're a pretty resilient bunch," Ruff said. "We had some opportunities that they blocked and there was a little frustration there. But my mindset was to go down to three [lines in the third period]. I threw Derek back up with Thomas [Vanek] and [Pominville] and we got instant results from that."
Vanek and Pominville both have six points in their last four games for the Sabres, who have won five of their last six.
Second-year defenseman Tyler Myers was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career on Monday.