Parise sends the sell-out crowd home happy with his empty-netter that clinched Monday's 3-0 win.
newjerseydevils.com – Scott Clemmensen never took his focus off giving the Devils a chance to win. The shutout was just an added bonus.
With Jersey's Team looking to turn things around on home ice, Clemmensen made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season, third of his career, Monday night in Newark. The Devils topped the New York Rangers, 3-0.
Zach Parise scored a power-play goal and added an empty-netter, while Bobby Holik notched his second tally in four games. Parise's two goals gave him 32 for the season, tying him with Buffalo's Thomas Vanek for third on the league's list.
The eighth time proved the charm for Clemmensen, who had carried shutouts into the third period seven previous times this season, most recently Jan. 29 at Boston.
Clemmensen wouldn't let this one get away. He held on for his first shutout since March 26, 2004 at Atlanta.
"It was most important to get the win, and obviously that was the big thing here tonight," said Clemmensen, who snapped a personal two-game losing skid with his 23rd victory of the year. "Shutouts are gravy for goalies, and they're nice to get, but it's most important to get the win. I can say it feels really nice when you actually get them."
It was a strong all-around game for the Devils, who blanked the Rangers for the first time since Jan. 16, 2007 at the Meadowlands. Martin Brodeur, who made 26 saves in that game, continues to rehab from left elbow surgery in November. On Monday, Clemmensen showed that the Devils are in good hands until the four-time Vezina Trophy winner can return.
"Clemmer was solid," head coach Brent Sutter said. "Shutouts are always nice, there's no question about it. At the end of the day, you look at the players that allowed you to have that. It was a very solid game."
The Devils (34-17-3) went 1-4-3 in the Battle of the Hudson last season, but have now taken three straight against the rival Rangers.
New Jersey extended its Atlantic Division lead to six points over second-place Philadelphia, while the third-place Rangers lost their fifth in a row to fall eight points behind the division's top spot.
New York entered the game ranked 28th in goals per game (2.40) and suffered its third shutout in eight games.
The Devils won for the 11th time in 14 games and improved to 1-1 on the season-high five-game homestand, which continues Wednesday against the New York Islanders. Boston comes to town Friday, before San Jose visits for Sunday's 3 p.m. Cap Day matinee.
New Jersey's penalty kill, which was perfect in five chances, had to get to work early after Colin White's high-sticking minor 54 seconds into the contest. The Rangers had four power-play opportunities in the scoreless opening 20 minutes, including Mike Rupp's interference on Blair Betts with 48.2 seconds left in the frame.
Rupp was still in the locker room following his second-period scrap with Colton Orr when the Devils broke through on Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers' goaltender made 28 stops.
Patrik Elias was sent out in Rupp's spot with Holik and Brendan Shanahan, and the move paid off. Elias took a hit from Michal Roszival in the corner to get the puck to Shanahan behind the net. Shanahan fed at the bottom of the left circle for Holik, who tapped his fourth of the season between Lundqvist's pads at 8:00.
"I got lucky," Holik said. "I actually was patient enough that when Shanny laid it in front of the net, for once in a long time I timed it well and just skated right into it. A little bit of hard work and a lot of luck."
Elias joked about his addition to the Holik line.
"It did work out and I told Bobby that if we could get a few more shifts together that maybe we could score more," said Elias, whose assist moved him within 12 points of John MacLean's club record.
Brandon Dubinsky took a holding minor 22 seconds after Holik's goal, and New Jersey padded its lead on the power play.
Jamie Langenbrunner fired from the point, and Travis Zajac took a swipe at the rebound before Parise flipped into the open left side at 9:27. Parise has scorched the Rangers for four goals and seven assists in five meetings this season after recording just two goals and an assist against New York in all of 2007-08.
"It seemed like last year it was 'Oh my God, the Rangers are coming' and everyone was all uptight, whereas this year I think we're more concerned about how we're playing," Parise said. "I think it's been more effective for us not being concerned about who they have on the ice and who they're playing. We've got a pretty deep team, so we're just concerned with ourselves now."
His empty-netter iced it with 1:43 left in regulation.
• The Devils improved to 16-10-1 at home, rebounding from Saturday's 3-1 loss to Los Angeles.
• Colin White was back in the lineup after missing one game with a sore hand, and saw 19:02 of ice time.
O'Ree waving to Monday's crowd
• Willie O'Ree, the first black player in NHL history, was on hand Monday night to drop the puck in a ceremonial faceoff between Elias and Chris Drury. O'Ree, who debuted with the Boston Bruins in 1957-58, is currently the Director of Youth Development for the NHL's Diversity Task Force.
• Shanahan spent the previous two seasons in a Rangers uniform and faced his former team for the first time since signing with the Devils last month.
"This game wasn't about me," Shanahan said. "It wasn't about me in this locker room, it sure wasn't in that one either. It's two teams that weren't happy with their last game and wanted to get a win against a division rival."
The veteran of 1,499 NHL games said one thing brought him back to New Jersey, which selected him second overall in the 1987 Entry Draft.
"It feels great to win and that's why I came here: to be a contributor to wins and find a way to fit in, in whatever way that they want me to fit in. Winning is why I still play. That's my motivation," he said.
• Dainius Zubrus brought a physical edge to his matchup against ex-Devil Scott Gomez. Zubrus took a boarding penalty on Gomez 4:37 into the second period, and Gomez was slapped with a roughing minor when he retaliated. The two battled for much of the evening.
"That's the matchup that coach wanted, and you try to play hard against skilled guys," Zubrus said.
Wrist shot -