A few thoughts while Tom Renney does his best Christian Bale impression:
-- With Martin Brodeur
close to returning to the New Jersey Devils
' lineup, it's obvious that Scott Clemmensen
's playing time is about to greatly diminish.
But if the career backup has proven anything over the last few months, it's that he's capable of being a No. 1 goalie in this League.
Clemmensen, who has 23 wins in place of the injured Brodeur, wasn't severely tested as he earned his third career shutout and first in 58 games -- dating to March 26, 2004, at Atlanta. Still, he stopped all 27 shots he faced as the Devils increased their lead in the Atlantic Division standings to six points over Philadelphia.
"It was most important to get the win, and obviously that was the big thing here tonight," Clemmensen said. "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."
But when will Clemmensen's next shutout come? After all, Brodeur skated Monday and is close to returning from a biceps tendon injury. If anything, though, Devils coach Brent Sutter
will soon have a very nice problem on his hands.
"Clemmer was solid," Sutter said after his team sent the Rangers to their fifth straight loss.
"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."
One that was nearly five years in the making for Clemmensen. He had carried shutouts into the third period seven previous times this season, most recently Jan. 29 at Boston.
''It's been a long time,'' Clemmensen said. ''Obviously I haven't played that many games ... but it was nice to get.''
-- Monday night proved to be a historic one for Calgary Flames
coach Mike Keenan. For the Montreal Canadiens
, it could be a turning point in their season.
After allowing two shorthanded goals in a 6-2 loss at Pengrowth Saddledome, the Canadiens held a players-only meeting that lasted more than 30 minutes. Montreal has lost its last six road games and eight in 10 overall.
"A lot of good things were said. Hopefully it's a step in the right direction," defenseman Mike Komisarek
The trip continues on Wednesday night in Edmonton, where the Habs will have to put forth a 60-minute effort if they plan on coming away with a victory.
"The first thing is to really try and forget the last two weeks," said Montreal captain Saku Koivu
. "We can't feel sorry for ourselves and we know the situation that we're in. We're the only ones that are going to dig ourselves out of that hole.
"We're trying to bring the passion back onto the ice. That's what we're trying to do."
The Flames understand where the Canadiens are coming from. Monday's win snapped a four-game skid for Calgary and tied coach Mike Keenan with Pat Quinn
for fourth on the NHL's all-time victory list with 657.
"We worked hard, and I think that's maybe something we were lacking the last games," Flames forward Matthew Lombardi
said. "We came out and we were getting pucks deep and getting pucks to the net. It was a big win for us before we go on the road. We've got to keep playing the same way."
Contact Brian Compton at: email@example.com.
Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.