Clemmensen won his third straight start, stopping 33 Predators shots Monday in Nashville.
newjerseydevils.com – The Devils got a power-play goal from Brendan Shanahan and another strong game from Scott Clemmensen to end their road trip on a high note Monday in the Music City.
Shanahan scored his first goal of 2008-09 in his season debut, and Clemmensen made 33 saves to fuel the Devils to a 3-1 victory over the Predators in Nashville.
David Clarkson set a new career high with his 10th goal of the season, while Zach Parise added his team-leading 27th into an empty net with 14 seconds left in regulation to seal the Devils' fifth win of their season-high six-game road trip.
New Jersey (28-15-3) continued to surge in the standings, winning its fourth in a row to leapfrog past the idle Rangers and into first place in the Atlantic Division for the first time this season.
John Madden and Brian Rolston each recorded two assists: Madden stretched his point streak to four games, while Rolston registered his first multi-point effort of the campaign.
Shanahan had the first of the night for the Devils, who beat Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne twice in the first 3:21 of the second period to take a 2-0 lead.
Shanahan dangled past a sliding Greg Zanon, then snapped career goal No. 651 along the ice inside the right post at 1:38. His 236th career man-advantage tally was New Jersey's seventh power-play goal of the trip.
"I was happy to get into a game on this road trip, and guys were definitely making a statement with the way they were playing," Shanahan told Steve Cangialosi of MSG Plus.
The Devils finished 7-for-15 (46.7%) on the man advantage during the road swing.
Clemmensen carried a shutout into the third period for the second straight game, but Radek Bonk's power-play goal put Nashville on the board with 5:48 left in regulation. That ended Clemmensen's bid for his first shutout since 2004.
Bonk's goal also snapped a streak of 20 consecutive road kills for the Devils' PK.
Clemmensen improved to 18-9-1 with his third straight triumph since dropping three in a row from Jan. 6-11. He has given up just two goals in his last two starts, including Saturday's 3-1 win at Long Island, when Blake Comeau scored with 9:25 remaining.
New Jersey is two wins and four points ahead of its mark through the first 46 games of 2007-08, when it finished second in the division to Pittsburgh. Nashville, meanwhile, dropped its third straight and suffered its ninth loss in the last 12 games.
"We had some ups and downs early but as the trip went on we got better and better," said Devils head coach Brent Sutter. "We played some solid road games. Any time you go on a six-game road trip and go 5-1, obviously you've done a lot of things pretty well. We finished here on a strong note."
The Devils haven't played at Prudential Center since Jan. 8, and return to host Montreal Wednesday in their final game before the All-Star break. Eight of New Jersey's next 11 games will be on home ice.
Shanahan's five-on-three goal put the Devils ahead 1-0 early in the second. David Legwand was called for tripping 16 seconds into the middle frame, and Dan Hamhuis took a hooking minor on the ensuing faceoff. That served up 1:57 of a two-man advantage, and the Devils capitalized with Shanahan's marker.
Shanahan, who made his last appearance as a Devil 6,504 days ago on April 15, 1991, set a new record for time between stints with the same club. Skating on a line with Bobby Holik and Mike Rupp, he saw 18 shifts for 13:59 of total ice time, and led all Devils with six shots.
Originally selected second overall by the Devils in 1987, Shanahan went on to stops in St. Louis, Hartford, Detroit and the Rangers, winning three Stanley Cups while a member of the Red Wings. He agreed in principle to join the Devils on Jan. 10, and made it official by signing on Jan. 15.
New Jersey took a 2-0 lead when Clarkson scored for a second straight game, extending his points streak to five games. He redirected Rolston's slapshot over Rinne's left shoulder at 3:21 of the second.
Nashville would take advantage of Clarkson's delay of game minor for putting the puck over the glass to end Clemmensen's bid for his third career shutout.
Jason Arnott's shot from outside the left circle deflected off Bonk, then Bryce Salvador on the doorstep and into the net with 5:48 left in the third. It was the only goal allowed by the Devils' penalty kill in 21 opportunities.
Parise's empty-netter was his fifth goal in the last six games (5g-2a). Patrik Elias picked up the primary assist for career point No. 680, and moved within 21 of John MacLean's franchise record.
Elias leads all Devils with 33 helpers.
NJD NOTES Jamie Langenbrunner has points in back-to-back contests, and a goal and six assists in his last six contests... Jay Pandolfo was a healthy scratch Monday for just the second time since 2001. He was last scratched on April 12, 2002 at Washington on the final day of the regular season. Before that, Pandolfo was last a healthy scratch on March 28, 2001 at Atlanta.