NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils
forward David Clarkson
is ready for the NHL's second season.
Following the team's practice at AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential Center on Thursday, Clarkson declared himself ready to go after being sidelined for two of the team's last three regular-season games with a lower-body injury.
The Devils will open their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Florida Panthers
on Friday at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise.
"I'm going to go Game 1," Clarkson said. "Everything is good and I'm ready."
Only Ilya Kovalchuk
(37) and Zach Parise
(31) have scored more goals than Clarkson for the Devils this season. The rugged 6-foot-1, 200-pound wing had 30 goals and accrued 138 penalty minutes in 2011-12 while averaging 16:21 of ice time through 80 games. He also ranked second on the team in hits (169), third in shots (228) and sixth in takeaways (32).
Does Clarkson feel the need to produce offensively now that he's hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career? After all, he has just two playoff goals in 20 career postseason games.
"You always want to be an impact player, but I think if I just stick to what I'm doing, it's going to happen," Clarkson said. "I'm not going to get ahead of myself to think I need to do this or that. I'm just going to go out there and play that hard-nosed hockey.
"If you watched Wednesday night's [playoff] games, you saw there was a lot of hitting and lot of little plays made; getting into those areas around the net," he continued. "That's what has made me successful this season so far and I'm going to do that throughout the playoffs."
Clarkson will likely open the series on a line with left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky
and rookie center Adam Henrique
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale