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New Jersey bounces back with shutout

By Wire services
Published March 27, 2004

ATLANTA - Rookie Scott Clemmensen made 18 saves for his second road shutout, and the Devils moved closer to playoff form with a 5-0 victory over Atlanta on Friday.

The Stanley Cup champion Devils, 1-2-1 in their past four, moved within a point of fifth-place Ottawa and four points ahead of seventh-place Montreal in the East. Patrik Elias, Scott Gomez, Grant Marshall, Paul Martin and Sergei Brylin scored for New Jersey.

The Devils needed a lift after a 2-1 loss at Tampa Bay Thursday, and Clemmensen delivered in only his fourth start.

On Tuesday, Martin Brodeur became just the eighth goalie to reach the 400-win mark, and he got a night off against the Thrashers. In his first appearance on Jan. 20, Clemmensen had a 3-0 shutout in Pittsburgh. That was the Devils' last road shutout victory before Friday.

Clemmensen was mostly a spectator in the second period, when the Thrashers had only three shots and none before the 6:40 mark. The Devils had converted only four of their last 47 power-play opportunities entering. But they made good on four tries.

SABRES 5, PENGUINS 1: Jay McKee and Chris Drury scored in a one-minute span in the second for host Buffalo, which moved within six points of the Islanders for the final playoff berth in the East. Both have five games remaining. Daniel Briere, Maxim Afinogenov and Andrew Peters also scored, and Drury added an assist for the Sabres, who have won three consecutive and four of the past five. Buffalo also snapped a nine-game winless streak (0-7-2) against Pittsburgh, dating to Oct. 14, 2001. Before the game, Buffalo managing partner Larry Quinn announced that general manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff will return next season. "I wanted to remove the issue from the table," Quinn said. "We've got a week of games here that are critical to us and I just felt that it's important to not have that speculation."

OILERS 3, KINGS 1: Petr Nedved scored his 300th career goal for host Edmonton, carrying the puck to the right of goalie Roman Cechmanek and scoring on a high backhand shot. Fernando Pisani and Ryan Smyth also scored for the Oilers, seventh in the West. Edmonton has earned at least a point in 15 consecutive games. Ian Laperriere scored for the Kings, who have lost six in a row and need a furious finish to catch St. Louis for the final playoff spot.

SHARKS 3, COYOTES 0: Vesa Toskala made 30 saves for visiting San Jose. Vincent Damphousse had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have 98 points, one shy of the franchise record set in 2001-02. Jonathan Cheechoo and Nils Ekman also scored for Sharks, who have earned 15 points in their last nine.

BLUE JACKETS 3, MIGHTY DUCKS 1: Fred Brathwaite made 43 saves, and rookie Nikolai Zherdev had a goal and an assist for host Columbus. David Vyborny added his 21st goal, a career high. Petr Sykora scored his 23rd for Anaheim.

ISLANDERS: Forward Jason Blake will miss at least a month after spraining an ankle Thursday. Blake has 22 goals and 47 points in 75 games.

RED WINGS: Dominik Hasek will not face charges for injuring a player during an in-line game in the Czech Republic. Hasek's case should be treated as a misdemeanor punishable with a fine up to $111, said Lenka Strnadova, prosecutor in his hometown of Pardubice.

[Last modified March 27, 2004, 02:10:29]

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