Jacques Lemaire gets 600th win thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk

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It is actually very interesting on how Jacques Lemarie received his 600th win in the NHL. On February 10th coaching the New Jersey Devils, Jacques Lemaire received his 600th win in the NHL thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk’s overtime winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs.


Ilya Kovalchuk who signed a 15 year deal with the New Jersey Devils in the off season, has said time after time that Lemaire is the best coach he’s every played hockey for, and he showed his appreciation by giving Lemarie his 600th win in the NHL.


Lemaire just the eighth coach in NHL history to reach the 600-win mark.
“We knew he had 599 and I think he’s the best coach I ever played for, definitely,” Kovalchuk said. “With his experience, he knows exactly what you need to tell the guys to make them work and make them go. It’s a pleasure to play for those kind of coaches.”


This win continues the Devils second half surge this season. They are 11-1-2 in their last 14 games after going 10-29-2 in the first half of the season. A big reason for this late surge is because of Ilya Kovalchuk’s second half boost. Ilya has 5 goals and 10 points in his last eight games.


Kovalchuk took a pass from defenseman Anssi Salmela in the Devils’ end and flew through the neutral zone. He crossed the Leafs’ blue line, cut to his right and used defenseman Keith Aulie as a screen as he fired a wrist shot from the right circle that beat rookie goaltender James Reimer under his right arm


“I wanted to get the screen for the goalie through the D, so it worked,” said Kovalchuk, who added that Reimer was impressive.


“He played great, this kid,” Kovalchuk said. “I think we’ll see him more often. He’s a big guy, covers a lot of space and controls rebounds well.”


The Devils are now 12-8-2 since Lemaire replaced John MacLean on Dec. 23. They have climbed into 13th in the East, though they are still 13 points out of a playoff berth. But do not think for a second they are out of the playoffs.


With teams like the Rangers, Thrashers, Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Sabres and the Panthers slipping the Devils have every shot at making a late playoff run if they keep up with this late season winnings. The Flyers proved last season it can happen and make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, will the Devils follow in their foot steps this season?
 

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