Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils handles the puck...

Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils handles the puck against the Los Angeles Kings during Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup finals. (May 30, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

NEWARK -- In the Devils' 2-1 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Ilya Kovalchuk managed only one shot on goal.

"He had good looks; a shot is just a stat," said Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi, one of several matched up against the Russian star. "He's got a lot of skill and is able to hold on to the puck an extra second, kind of like [Washington's Alex] Ovechkin that way."

But Ovechkin is watching the Finals on television, and unless the Devils receive more contributions from Kovalchuk Saturday night in Game 2 at the Prudential Center, they could be staring at a 0-2 hole in the best-of-seven series, which moves to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer isn't concerned. "We're capable of surviving on nights when he doesn't score or isn't at the top of his game, just like we're capable of surviving nights that [Patrik] Elias or [Zach] Parise or other guys aren't," he said Friday. "That's the strength of our team."

The Kings have been astonishingly strong on the road (9-0) in the postseason, and center Mike Richards said they are "comfortable and confident." They also are very good at closing games out and haven't allowed a third-period goal in seven straight.

Scuderi and Drew Doughty, and at times the defense pair of Willie Mitchell and Slava Voynov, were effective against Kovalchuk, but DeBoer said he isn't worried about trying to move the ace winger away from a certain duo.

"We played [Dan] Girardi and [Ryan] McDonagh against the Rangers, same thing," DeBoer said. "If they're going to match those guys up, in order to get him away, we're going to have to get away from a four-line game. Two, if they're matching up against Kovalchuk, then they're not matching against Parise or other guys. I'm not discounting it. We're just not going to let that dictate how we play."

Kovalchuk and his teammates admit they didn't produce their best performance Wednesday, and DeBoer believes other elements are important.

"The big thing is the crowd, the environment, sleeping in your own bed," Kovalchuk said. "I know L.A.'s record kind of minimizes the sounds of that with what they've done on the road. But it's important to us. We've been a good home team. I know we're going to throw a good game out there Saturday."

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