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Clarkson, Devils take down Columbus


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#1 westcoastdevfan

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Posted 21 March 2011 - 02:59 AM

Posted ImageDevils shut out Blue Jackets

Even if the New Jersey Devils (34-34-4) miss the playoffs for the first time since 1995-96 season they won’t be going quietly. The Devils, who have 10 games left, were on a 23-3-2 tear before back-to-back losses to Ottawa and Washington eliminated any room for error.

Sunday night they responded with a total team effort defeating the Columbus Jackets (33-29-10) 3-0 at Nationwide Arena.

David Clarkson provided the offense and Martin Brodeur earned his fifth shutout of the season and 115th of his career.

In desperate need of points and offense the Devils once again turned to the line of Clarkson, Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson. The trio collected 5 points including 2 goals from Clarkson.

New Jersey jumped out to a 1-0 advantage midway through the 1st period when Josefson lifted a backhander from the left circle that was stopped by goalie Steve Mason,  Clarkson jumped on the rebound and buried it to give the Devils the lead.

Clarkson scored his 12th goal of the season at 8:50 of the 2nd period increasing the lead to 2-0.  He had a chance for his first NHL hat trick when he stole the puck and raced in alone for a third-period breakaway, but he failed to get off a clean shot.

“Clarkson is a guy that can finish,” Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said. “He goes in front of the net. He’s got a touch for scoring — I wouldn’t say a touch to score 40 or 50 goals — but if he gets some opportunities, I know he’s going to get some goals.”

Nick Palmieri added a 3rd period goal, his 7th of the year, to close out the scoring.

Brodeur was good when he needed to be but the Blue Jackets never seemed to find any offensive rhythm. Brodeur was rarely tested as he made his 11th straight start. He only faced a handful of dangerous chances by Columbus, which looked exhausted after an overtime win at Minnesota the night before.

The Devils did pick up a point on the eighth-place Buffalo Sabres trimming their deficit to seven points for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. New Jersey got a little lucky when the Nashville Predators staged a ferocious comeback. The Sabres blew their 3-1 lead late in the third and eventually lost in overtime.

The Devils have three games left on their current four game road trip. They play the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins before heading to Buffalo for a crucial tilt with the Sabres.

“At the end of the day, we have to do our thing,” Brodeur said. “If we win our next two games, the next thing you know we’re playing Buffalo.”

This cannot be understated, the next 3 games will decide the Devils playoff fate. Game on!

BOX SCORE

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.



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