Thrashers' Kovalchuk returns after missing two games with knee injury

ATLANTA -- Thrashers All-Star forward Ilya Kovalchuk returned to action Tuesday after missing two games because of a knee injury and scored a goal in Atlanta's 3-2 loss to Philadelphia.

Kovalchuk did not start against the Flyers but he came off the bench early in the first period. Kovalchuk earned the go-ahead to play after he participated in pregame warmups.

Kovalchuk was injured on a knee-on-knee hit from Pittsburgh left winger Jarkko Ruutu Wednesday night, forcing him to miss games against Buffalo and Washington. Atlanta won both games.

The 24-year-old came into Tuesday night second in the NHL in goals scored with 38.

An MRI on Kovalchuk was negative, and he had no serious swelling.