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Clutch Clarkson lighting the lamp

Wednesday, 02.1.2012 / 3:11 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Clutch Clarkson lighting the lamp



 
His goal production may be soaring to new heights, but David Clarkson's just happy to be contributing.

He matched a season high Tuesday with his 17th of the year, and did it in dramatic fashion, capitalizing on a crazy bounce off the glass to notch a last-minute tying goal against the Rangers.

The Devils (27-19-3) went on to a 4-3 shootout win to snap a three-game winless streak.

"As long as this team's winning, I'm happy," Clarkson said. "You look at our goals as a team, and our goals are really spread out wide. We've got a lot of guys that can put the puck in the net and that's what makes a team successful. I think as a group, we're doing a lot of good things and we've got to continue to do it."

Clarkson, who tallied 12 goals in 82 games last season, is on pace to finish with 28 goals and 39 points. He posted a career-high 32 points (17g, 15a) in 2008-09.

"You have goals you want to accomplish, whether it's team goals or individual goals," he said. "Things are going well, but everyone knows it's a streaky game, hockey. So you've just got to continue to work hard and do the little things like get to the net. I don't know how you could get lucky bounces like that, but just being around the goal and doing the little things right and hope that it keeps going well."

Clarkson has also benefitted from his relationship with Devils coach Peter DeBoer, who coached him in juniors at Kitchener (OHL).

"I've been through quite a bit with him over the years and have a lot of respect for him," Clarkson said. 

DeBoer sees Clarkson as one of his go-to guys in the clutch.

"For me, he's always been a big-game goal scorer," said the coach. "He's found a way in overtimes, in the playoffs, in big games, to rise to the occasion and score. He has that ability. We've seen that this year. He had an overtime winner in Toronto (Dec. 6), he scores last night to tie it up. He has that ability at key times to find a way to get a goal. That's one of his great characteristics."

Patrik Elias and Bryce Salvador missed Wednesday's practice to rest, but are expected to play Thursday when Montreal visits Prudential Center. Martin Brodeur will start, but Adam Henrique (groin), who missed his second straight practice, will not play.

With 57 points, the Devils are seventh in the East, one point ahead of eighth-place Toronto and two ahead of ninth-place Florida.

"No team is all set that they can maybe take a breather for 30-something games and just say, 'We're there. We'll be OK,'" Elias said. "Every game is tough. You have the Islanders playing well. You have Buffalo playing well. You have top teams playing well, then at certain times, everybody's struggling. There's no easy game. You just have to worry about yourself and just play the next game. We believe we're a good enough team to be in the playoffs, yeah."

Ilya Kovalchuk's sixth shootout winner Tuesday tied him with Adrian Aucion ('09-10) for the NHL's single-season record. (Elias Sports Bureau)

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 69 16 24 -3 40
M. Cammalleri 62 25 13 3 38
P. Elias 63 11 21 -16 32
S. Gomez 52 7 24 -7 31
S. Bernier 61 13 14 3 27
T. Zajac 68 11 12 -4 23
A. Larsson 58 3 19 3 22
A. Greene 76 3 18 3 21
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
E. Gelinas 56 6 11 -3 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 28 8 .928 2.19
K. Kinkaid 5 5 3 .918 2.47