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Daily Primer: Clarkson's first game vs. Devils

by John Kreiser

David Clarkson spent his entire NHL career with the New Jersey Devils until he decided to go home.

Clarkson never was drafted but blossomed into a 30-goal scorer with the Devils. However, when he became an unrestricted free agent last summer, Clarkson opted to sign a seven-year, $36.75 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team he grew up watching.

Clarkson's debut with his new team was delayed by a 10-game suspension levied for an incident during the preseason, but he's seeing regular time on Toronto's main checking line. He'll take the ice against the Devils for the first time when the teams meet Friday at Air Canada Centre (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN).

"I'm sure I'll have a little bit of nervousness. I don't really know what to say, but I've definitely been thinking about it," Clarkson told the (Newark) Star-Ledger. "I've kept in touch with quite a few of the guys. It will be nice to see some of them."

Here's a look at all of the action scheduled for Friday:

New Jersey Devils at Toronto Maple Leafs -- Clarkson probably won't have to worry about trying to put a puck past longtime teammate Martin Brodeur. The winningest goaltender in NHL history  likely will get the night off after blanking the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 on Thursday for his 122nd regular-season shutout. The Maple Leafs have been off since completing a trip through Western Canada with a 4-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, a game in which they also lost center Dave Bolland with a severed ankle tendon that required surgery.

Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets -- The Predators have found their scoring touch in the early stages of a seven-game, 17-day road trip. They've scored 14 goals while going 2-0-1 and are coming off a 6-4 victory against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. The 14 goals matches the scoring output in Nashville's seven previous games. Winnipeg is back at MTS Centre after a 4-1 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks that left coach Claude Noel upset with his team's puck management. The Jets hope to have forward Evander Kane back in the lineup; he's missed two games with an undisclosed lower-body injury.

Calgary Flames at Colorado Avalanche -- Calgary's 3-0-2 start has melted under the weight of eight losses in 11 games. The Flames dug themselves a three-goal hole against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday and couldn't quite get out, losing 3-2 to fall to 1-2-0 on a four-game trip that ends at Pepsi Center. Colorado will be trying to tighten its defense after being torched for six goals by the Nashville Predators in a 6-4 loss Wednesday. The Avalanche had allowed 19 goals in 13 games before the loss to Nashville.

Buffalo Sabres at Anaheim Ducks -- The last-place team in the League standings visits the first-place team as the Sabres complete a three-game swing through California. Buffalo's offensive troubles continued Thursday in a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, a game in which the Sabres were outshot 28-19 and generated little. The Sabres (3-14-1) have scored 29 non-shootout goals in 13 games. Anaheim is 13-3-1, including a perfect 6-0-0 at Honda Center, and leads the NHL with 27 points after beating the Phoenix Coyotes 5-2 on Wednesday. The Ducks are 6-0-1 in their past seven games and they scored twice on the power play against Phoenix after connecting only four times through their first 16 games.

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