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Ilya Kovalchuk is seven games into a 15-year, $100-million US contract with the Devils.

Ilya Kovalchuk was reinserted into the lineup for New Jersey's game against the New York Rangers on Sunday, a night after the star forward was scratched by Devils coach John MacLean.

"He'll be playing and hopefully playing a lot and burying some of the great opportunities he's been getting," MacLean said a few hours before the game at Madison Square Garden.

Kovalchuk, who's just a few games into a 15-year, $100-million US contract, was made a healthy scratch by MacLean for Saturday night's home game against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Devils were trounced 6-1, and MacLean declined afterward to say why he didn't allow Kovalchuk to dress.

The coach remained tight-lipped on Saturday.

"It's an internal matter, it's between him and I, and that's as far as we're going," MacLean said.

Kovalchuk didn't offer much either, except to say he hopes to help the Devils rebound from their 2-5-1 start.

"I like to play, but that was [MacLean's] decision," said Kovalchuk, who has two goals and three assists in seven games, along with a minus-3 rating.

"I love the game so much, that's probably the worst, especially when you're losing. Hopefully, we're going to bounce back tonight and be much better."