Clarkson scored twice and Martin Brodeur made 13 saves to earn his NHL-record 115th shutout as the Devils snapped a two-game slide with a 3-0 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
"Clarkson is a guy that can finish," Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said. "He goes in front of the net. He's got a touch for scoring -- I wouldn't say a touch to score 40 or 50 goals -- but if he gets some opportunities, I know he's going to get some goals."
Nick Palmieri also scored, and Mattias Tedenby added two assists for the Devils, who are trying to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff race. New Jersey is in 11th place, seven points behind eighth-place Buffalo and the postseason cutoff.
The Devils, who have 10 games left, were on a 23-3-2 tear before back-to-back losses to Ottawa and Washington this week damaged their already long shot playoff hopes.
Brodeur was rarely tested as he made his 11th straight start. He used his leg pads to stop only a handful of dangerous chances by Columbus, which looked a step slow one day after an overtime win at Minnesota.
"I think the turnaround is pretty exceptional, there's no doubt about that," Brodeur said of the Devils, who fell into a deep hole after a terrible first half of the season. "Especially in the situation we were in. We've gotten on some pretty good rolls throughout my career. I think this situation, to be able to turn it around and do what we did, has been a lot more fun."
Steve Mason stopped 28 shots for the Blue Jackets, 2-6-4 in their last 12 games.
New Jersey broke out of a scoring slump after netting only one goal in the two-game skid. The Devils worked their game plan of simplifying the attack and fighting for rebounds to perfection.
Clarkson opened the scoring at 9:24 of the first period. Jacob Josefson beat two Blue Jackets out of the corner with the puck and threw a backhander on net. Clarkson, alone in front, popped the rebound past Mason.
"My linemates were unbelievable … I just had to kind of float off their tails and get chances," Clarkson said. "I don't want to say they were garbage goals, but they weren't pretty. It's exciting. We needed the win, and we got it."
Columbus' best opportunity came off the stick of R.J. Umberger, whose shot from the right dot clanged off the post.
The Blue Jackets didn't register their first shot on goal until under a minute left in the opening period. Another shot was added during the intermission by off-ice officials.
"They did probably the best I've seen a team get sticks and bodies in the way of shots," Columbus coach Scott Arniel said. "It was real evident, two teams -- one team was very tired and one team was fresh."
The Devils made it 2-0 near the midpoint of the second period.
On the rush, Andy Green fired a shot that Mason couldn't corral as players were flying everywhere. Tedenby dug the puck loose, and Clarkson scored into an open net for his 12th goal.
Moments later, Mason stopped Ilya Kovalchuk, scoreless in four of five games, on a breakaway.
Brodeur's best stop of the period came at the 12-minute mark on a hard snap shot from Rick Nash.
Palmieri stripped the puck from defenseman Kris Russell, cutting through the low crease, and quickly snapped a shot past a surprised Mason at 3:22 for his seventh goal.
"We didn't really get too comfortable after we got up 3-0 … we stuck to the way that made us successful early in the game," Palmieri said. "It was a complete game for us tonight."
A few minutes later, Brodeur hugged the post with his pad to stop an in-tight chance by Matt Calvert.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.
1 - 0 NJD
Wrist shot -