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Clemmensen hot as Devils blank Bruins

SCOTT Clemmensen recorded 31 saves to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 1-0 shutout victory over the NHL-best Boston Bruins on Friday.

It was the second consecutive shutout performance from the 31-year-old goaltender, who collected 27 saves in a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers on Monday.

His follow-up effort allowed the Devils (36-17-3) to notch their third straight victory and pull them within 10 points of Boston for the Eastern Conference lead.

In other National Hockey League games on Friday, it was: Sabres 6, Sharks 5 (in a shootout); Blue Jackets 3, Red Wings 2; Panthers 2, Rangers 1 (in SO); Blues 1, Blackhawks 0; Stars 2, Canucks 1; and Canadiens 4, Avalanche 2.

In Newark, New Jersey, defenseman Bryce Salvador had the game's only score at 10:54 into the second period.

Bryce took a pass from center John Madden, who had won a faceoff, and beat goalie Tim Thomas with a wrister.

It was Salvador's third goal of the season, and his first since December 17.

"I just had a feeling that Madden was going to win it on his backhand, and it came right to my tape," Salvador told reporters.

"I shot it through the screen, and it had eyes and found the back of the net."

Thomas faced just 18 shots and had 17 saves for the Bruins, who got 31 shots on goal but could not take advantage.

It was the third straight defeat for Boston (39-10-7), which has struggled against fellow top teams of late.

The Bruins fell to the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks 2-5 on Tuesday, and dropped an earlier meeting with the Devils 3-4 on January 29.

Clemmensen continues to fill in admirably for starting goaltender Martin Brodeur, who has been out with an injury since November 1 but is expected to return soon.

"We felt we've been a very solid, very good team all year long," Clemmensen said.

"We've really made a strong push to get to the top of the standings here.

"If we're going to make that next push to be an elite-level team, we've got to beat teams like this."

The Devils stretched their lead in the Atlantic Division to nine points.


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