Devils RW Ilya Kovalchuk appeared to be grimacing in pain as he rotated his right shoulder when the sat down in the penalty box (hooking) with 4:40 left in regulation Sunday.

"Just stretching," insisted Kovalchuk, who missed 11 games with a right shoulder injury before returning Saturday against Florida.

Although the Devils’ three remaining games are meaningless after they were eliminated from playoff contention with Sunday’s loss, Kovalchuk said he intends to play in all of them. "Why not?" he asked.

Just a coincidence?

Was it a coincidence that referee Chris Rooney was the target of coach Pete DeBoer and the Devils’ frustration, eventually leading to DeBoer receiving a game misconduct with 16.2 seconds left? Rooney was one of the two referees who officiated Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Los Angeles last June.

The Kings scored three times during a boarding major on Steve Bernier in the first period and the Devils never recovered in a 6-1 defeat that ended their season.

When asked if the Devils’ frustration with Rooney was related to the Finals, Devils left wing Ryan Carter answered, "I’m smart enough to not answer that."