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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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