Having played last year in the AHL, where the NHL’s new tiebreaker was tested, Clemmensen was ready on Saturday night when the New Jersey Devils faced their first shootout. After making 27 saves in regulation, he stopped two of three penalty shots to give New Jersey a 5-4 victory over the Boston Bruins.
“Obviously, the American League prepares you well for this,” Clemmensen said after getting his second consecutive win since Brodeur went out with a sprained knee.
Viktor Kozlov had two goals in regulation and scored in the shootout, heading straight in on Hannu Toivonen and putting the puck through his legs. Clemmensen stopped Sergei Samsonov, but Alexander Mogilny missed for New Jersey. Joe Thornton scored to make it 1-1.
“I like shootouts,” Devils coach Larry Robinson said with a smile, before bursting into a laugh. “I love shootouts.”
Kozlov also assisted on Mogilny’s goal with 2:32 left in regulation that tied it 4-4 and sent the game into overtime. The score—New Jersey’s only power-play goal in 10 tries—came after Murray took an unnecessary hooking penalty.
“We spent so much time in the penalty box, we couldn’t seem to get any kind of rhythm,” Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. “Obviously, we need a heightened awareness of where our stick is at all times.”
Thornton had a goal and three assists for Boston, which has earned at least one point in five straight games (2-0-3). Toivonen stopped 30 shots in his second consecutive game while Andrew Raycroft is out with a strained left hamstring.
Boston led 3-1 before Kozlov scored twice, tying it when he took a centering pass from Mogilny and putting it through Toivonen’s pads with 14:05 left in regulation. Just 79 seconds later, Thornton went behind the Devils net for the puck and fought off a check from defenseman Brian Rafalski.
Thornton retained control and pushed it into the center for Samsonov, who one-timed it through Clemmensen’s pads. But the Devils, scoreless on their first nine power plays, got another advantage when Murray was called for hooking with 4:04 left.
Mogilny wristed in a rebound with 2:32 left to tie it, a development that prompted Bruins defenseman Nick Boynton to slam his stick across the goal, sending the blade flying, and pursue the referee until the linesmen intervened.
The Bruins nearly won it with 39 seconds left in overtime when Thornton passed cross-ice to Samsonov, who sent the puck into the middle for Brian Leetch. Leetch got Clemmensen to go to the ice but couldn’t lift the puck over him.
Jay Pandolfo scored for the Devils, and P.J. Axelsson scored for Boston before Thornton put the Bruins ahead 15:24 in, skating in from the right circle and sliding the puck through Clemmensen’s pads. Samsonov and Thornton set up Murray at 7:39 of the second to make it 3-1.
Kozlov scored his first with 2:34 left in the second, shooting the puck off the far post with a loud clang before it caromed into the net. The red light went on, but the referee made no signal until Toivonen gloved the puck. Replays clearly showed the puck crossed the goal line.
Boston D Jiri Slegr’s next game will be the 600th of his career. … Samsonov tallied his 200th career assist. … Pandolfo’s next game will be his 500th. … Bruins winger Sean McEachern returned after missing five games with back spasms. He had three minor penalties in the first period.