Defense and goaltending are better to have than offense in the 2-1-0 loser point NHL because NJ can play a bunch of 1-1 games that go to OT and they can end up with extra points as a result.
It's possible that Kovalchuk acted as a bit of a defensive forward because of his ability to break the puck out and keep it away from the opposition, so we'll see about that - he might've been unwittingly suppressing the opposition's shots (even as he was definitely suppressing his own team's)
Still not that worried about his loss. Yeah, he had 5-10 games a year where he was by far the best player on the ice. He also had 40 where he wasn't close to being that.