ATLANTA (AP) _ Scott Clemmensen made the most of a rare start Friday night,
stopping 18 shots for his second road shutout in the New Jersey Devils' 5-0
victory over Atlanta.
Playing time is scarce for any goalie behind New Jersey's Martin Brodeur,
who this week reached 400 wins faster than any player in NHL history.
Clemmensen has made only four starts this season, and he already has three wins
and two shutouts.
``It's obviously a testament to the type of goaltender he is,'' Devils right
wing Brian Gionta said. ``Backup goalies don't play a lot here. To be that
sharp says a lot.''
Clemmensen made only 10 saves in the first two periods. At times when the
Thrashers could not even challenge the net, staying alert was Clemmensen's
``I didn't see a lot of shots and I didn't see a lot of quality shots,''
Clemmensen said. ``Obviously, when you limit those two things, good things are
going to happen for you. It's just having good players playing in front of
The Stanley Cup champion Devils, 1-2-1 in their last four games, moved
within a point of fifth-place Ottawa and four points ahead of seventh-place
Montreal in the Eastern Conference.
Scott Gomez scored twice, and Patrik Elias, Paul Martin and Sergei Brylin
added goals for New Jersey.
The Devils needed a lift following a 2-1 loss in Tampa Bay Thursday night,
and Clemmensen delivered in only his fourth start.
On Tuesday night, Brodeur became just the eighth goalie to reach the 400-win
mark, and he was rewarded with a night off against the Thrashers.
Clemmensen said he was told by coach Pat Burns after Thursday night's loss
that he would start Friday night.
``When they call me I just want to play well,'' Clemmensen said. ``The
shutout is a bonus.''
In his first NHL appearance on Jan. 20, Clemmensen had a 3-0 shutout in
Pittsburgh. That was the Devils' last road shutout victory before Friday night.
Clemmensen was mostly a spectator in the second period, when the Thrashers
had only three shots on goal. Atlanta's first shot on goal came with 6:40 left
in the period.
``It was not one of our best games, that's for sure,'' said Thrashers coach
Bob Hartley. ``From the first drop of the puck we basically never gave
ourselves a chance to be in this game.''
The Thrashers were playing their first game since they were eliminated from
the playoffs with the New York Islanders' win over Philadelphia Thursday night.
The frustrations of Atlanta's players became evident late in the game, leading
to Martin's five-on-three goal with 2:08 left to play.
The Thrashers drew 17 penalties, including two five-minute major penalties
for fighting and two unsportsmanlike conduct calls.
``There were certainly frustrations, but still you have to be able to
control your frustrations,'' Hartley said. ``You can't let frustration control
The Devils had converted only four of their last 47 power-play opportunities
entering the game. Against the Thrashers, they made good on four of 11
power-play tries, including two in the final 2:08 of the game.
Elias pushed his team-leading goals total to 36 on a power-play shot from
the right circle 4:28 into the first period. The goal followed a two-minute
tripping penalty against Atlanta's Andy Sutton.
The Devils didn't need a power-play chance to push the lead to 2-0 in the
first period. Gomez scored on a deflected shot by Brian Gionta with 3:59 left
in the period.
With only 36.4 seconds left in a fight-marred second period, Gomez beat
goalie Pasi Nurminen to push the Devils' lead to 3-0.
Brylin limped off the ice in the final seconds after a shot with 10.8
seconds left to play deflected off his skate and past Nurminen for the Devils'