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Devils hand Rangers' 5th-straight loss

THE New Jersey Devils handed the New York Rangers their fifth successive defeat as Scott Clemmensen recorded his first shutout in nearly five years in a 3-0 home win over the Rangers on Monday.

Clemmensen made 27 saves and picked up his 23rd victory of the season having replaced Martin Brodeur, who has missed 44 games due to a bicep tendon injury sustained earlier this season.

A career back-up, Clemmensen was drafted in 1997 by the Devils but only made his NHL debut in 2001. Until this season, he had started just 19 NHL games. His last shutout was March 26, 2004, in Atlanta.

"It's been a long time," Clemmensen said. "Obviously I haven't played that many games ... but it was nice to get."

Brodeur has started skating again and practiced with the team on Monday, but there is still no timetable for his return. The 36-year-old says he will be in top shape when he returns to NHL action.

"It's coming along," Brodeur said. "I've been skating a while like everyone knows, so it's nice to be practicing with real players.

"Coaches are good but they've been retired for a few years, so it's nice to have a few players shooting at me. I'll be in the best shape of my life when I do get back, that's for sure."

Clemmensen's strong play since he took over as New Jersey's No. 1 has not gone unnoticed by the Devils, who enjoy a six-point lead on second place Philadelphia in the Atlantic standings.

"Scott was terrific tonight and he's really done a great job for us," said Zach Parise, who scored twice for the Devils. "We have a lot of confidence playing in front of him."

Bobby Holik scored the other goal as New Jersey snapped a two-game losing streak at home.

The Rangers are 0-4-1 in their last five games and their season-high losing streak has them just five points ahead of the Eastern Conference cut-off line for the playoffs.

"Right now, we're in a tough spot," Henrik Lundqvist said. "We need everybody to step up, starting with me. I have to play the best that I can."

In Calgary, Alberta, Matthew Lombardi and Dustin Boyd scored short-handed goals to propel Calgary 6-2 over Montreal.


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