NEWARK — Superstar forward Ilya Kovalchuk is back with the New Jersey Devils.

The high-scoring Russian participated in a scrimmage against the Devils’ top minor league team on Wednesday, scoring a goal and adding an assist less than 24 hours after landing in the United States following a flight from Russia.

While there was much speculation whether Kovalchuk would return to the Devils after playing 36 games in the KHL during the NHL’s four-month lockout, Kovalchuk said there was never a doubt in his mind that he would play for the Devils if a new collective bargaining agreement was reached.

Kovalchuk missed the Devils’ first three practices after the new 10-year CBA was finalized Saturday night. He decided to play in the KHL All-Star game Sunday as a way to thank the Russian people.

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