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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 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 52 15 23 7 38
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
K. Palmieri 52 20 15 3 35
A. Henrique 50 16 16 14 32
T. Zajac 44 7 17 6 24
D. Schlemko 44 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 52 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 50 1 12 0 13
A. Greene 52 4 6 2 10
J. Moore 44 3 7 -1 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 15 5 .929 2.03
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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