Jason Garrison left practice after working in front of the net and being struck on the nose by a deflected puck. There was a lot of blood left on the ice and Garrison received stitches on the fluke play.
“He caught a puck,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. “He'll be fine.''
--Marco Sturm (lower body) was back on the ice for the first time since leaving Saturday's game against Carolina after two periods of play.
Sturm, whom Dineen calls questionable for Friday, was working with likely scratched forwards Mike Santorelli and Jerred Smithson.
Krys Barch is expected to take Sturm's spot on the fourth line.
“A strong right winger would be good for us to have with Jack Skille out for the season,'' Dineen said. “But there's been no [medical] indication he's close to returning.''
(PS: What is Keith Ballard doing there in the photo? Is he swinging his stick like a baseball bat? Better watch out; there's a goalie there!)
Kovalchuk has teed off on the Panthers since his days with the Thrashers, scoring 35 goals with 68 points in 57 games.
Kovalchuk has four goals and nine points in eight games against Florida since joining the Devils.
“I always use the term 'blowing smoke' when it sounds like I'm complimenting someone [too much],'' Dineen said, “but he deserves every penny he gets. Pete DeBoer has done a great job diversifying him as a player.