Ilya Kovalchuk will play Saturday

With one week remaining in the regular season and the New Jersey Devils on the brink of elimination from playoff contention, star winger Ilya Kovalchuk will return to the lineup Saturday against the Florida Panthers.

Kovalchuk has not played since sustaining a shoulder injury March 23.
The 30-year-old Kovalchuk had 10 goals and 27 points before suffering the injury.

The Devils are floundering in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, eight points behind the New York Rangers for the final playoff spot with five games left.

New Jersey snapped a 10-game winless streak that coincided with Kovalchuk's absence with a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.