Devils 1, Bruins 0
Clemmensen got his paddle down on Vladimir Sobotka en route to his second straight shutout.
Two straight wins against the Boston Bruins speak volumes about where the Devils stack up in the Eastern Conference.
Scott Clemmensen made 31 saves Friday for his second consecutive shutout and the Devils took their third in a row with a 1-0 triumph over the League-leading Bruins at Prudential Center.
's first goal in 22 games was the lone goal of the contest, and lifted the Devils into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of idle Washington.
Clemmensen's 24th victory of the season tied him with Boston's Tim Thomas for seventh on the League's wins list.
"We felt we've been a very solid, very good team all year long," Clemmensen said. "We've really made a strong push to get to the top of the standings here. If we're going to make that next push to be an elite-level team, we've got to beat teams like this."
With his fourth career shutout, Clemmensen tied Craig Billington and Sean Burke for third on the Devils' all-time list. Martin Brodeur
holds the franchise record with 98, followed by Chris Terreri with seven.
Clemmensen made 27 stops in Monday's 3-0 win over the Rangers.
"They were such low-scoring games," he said. "I didn't really think about [the shutouts] that much because obviously you don't want to give up the goal to tie it. It feels good to do it, obviously at home. Like I've said, those things are gravy, the most important thing is that we got the win."
Salvador's third of the season came at a point in the game when the Devils were getting outshot 20-10. His first goal since Dec. 17 snapped a 21-game goal drought.
John Madden beat Patrice Bergeron on an offensive zone draw, and the puck came right back to Salvador at the point. The rugged blueliner used Boston's Martins Karsums as a screen, and put a wrister through Thomas' pads at 10:54 of the second period.
"I just had a feeling that Madden was going to win it on his backhand, and it came right to my tape," Salvador said. "I shot it through the screen, and it had eyes and found the back of the net."
Madden said he gave his linemates a heads-up to look for the draw.
"[Bergeron's] a right-handed faceoff guy, and I'm left-handed, we were both going to the middle of the ice," Madden said. "I was just making the wingers and defensemen aware that the puck's got to come out that way, so be on your toes and jump on the loose puck. We just got lucky that it went right on his tape."
New Jersey leads the Atlantic Division by nine points over the second-place Rangers, who lost in a shootout to Florida on Friday.
The Devils, who beat the Bruins 4-3 in overtime on Jan. 29, close out the season series at Boston on March 22. Ten points separate the two teams in the Eastern standings.
"Whenever you can help the team win by scoring a goal, it's always nice," Salvador said. "The team played really well. Clemmer was solid in net and gave us a chance to win. It allowed the one goal to hold true tonight."
's icing with 23.4 seconds left in regulation brought a faceoff back into Devils' territory and created a tense sequence in the game's dying moments. Zajac and Brendan Shanahan kept pucks from getting to Clemmensen with key blocks against Boston defenseman Dennis Wideman.
The Bruins entered the night as the League's best road team and lost in regulation for just the sixth time this season away from home (20-6-3). Boston head coach Claude Julien was denied his 200th career victory.
The Devils, meanwhile, seem to have solved their troubles on home ice. They have taken three in a row since dropping back-to-back home losses to Washington and Los Angeles. Their five-game homestand concludes Sunday afternoon against the West-leading San Jose Sharks.
"We played solid," said head coach Brent Sutter. "We knew it was going to be a tight game. We played them basically to one-goal games, even the first game, although it was 2-0 (Dec. 23). We knew it was going to be tight and that's what it was. Clemmensen made some big saves when we needed it."
Sutter lauded Shanahan's gritty defensive effort late in the game.
"Shanny has played in those situations a lot throughout his career. He understands the importance of the game in terms of certain times where your awareness has to be very good," Sutter said. "That just comes because he takes pride in it. Over his career, the last few years more than ever, he's understood how important that is in the game. That's how well he's played."
Shanahan, whose outstanding career numbers include 653 goals and 692 assists, had four blocked shots on Friday.
"When you score goals that seems to get most of the attention," Shanahan said. "Those are situations that I'm comfortable with, and that I've been used in a lot in my career. I didn't know whether I would play that role here, but I take as much pride in that part of the games as being out there last-minute when you're down a goal."
After letting two power-play chances slip by in the first period, the Devils nearly took the lead shorthanded on Boston's first man advantage of the night.
With Patrik Elias
off for hooking, Jamie Langenbrunner
chipped the puck out of the zone to create a Devils two-on-one with Zajac and Paul Martin against Zdeno Chara. Zajac drew Chara wide and flipped into the middle for a Martin breakaway. Thomas squeezed the pads to deny Martin's backhand 3:56 into the second.
The Devils survived a scare late in the second, when Vladimir Sobotka kicked at a rebound that wound up hitting the right post with 2:54 remaining.
"I'm not sure if they would've counted it a goal or not because I know it hit him in the foot, but with my luck they probably would have anyway," Clemmensen joked. "It hit the post and at that point it was just kind of a scramble and I didn't know where the puck was, I just knew it didn't go in."
The Devils improved to 18-10-1 at home... Mike Rupp returned to the lineup after he was scratched Wednesday.
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