The Hockey News’ player of the week for Feb. 9 to 15 is New Jersey Devils goaltender Scott Clemmensen.
It won’t be long now before Martin Brodeur is back from injury – he began practising again Feb. 14 – but there’s no arguing “Clemmer” has run with his opportunity as the No. 1 in New Jersey. This past week he posted back-to-back-to-back victories over three playoff-bound teams.
Clemmensen was 3-0-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and two shutouts as the Devils padded their lead atop the Atlantic Division (eight points) and moved to within striking distance of the conference-leading Boston Bruins (nine points).
The week began with a Monday tilt versus the division-rival New York Rangers; Clemmensen made 27 saves to earn his first shutout of the season. On Friday, the Bruins travelled to New Jersey for a matchup between the Eastern Conference’s two best teams. Clemmensen was brilliant in a 1-0 win, making 31 saves for his second consecutive shutout as the Devils proved they are a force to reckon with in the East.
On Sunday the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks skated into New Jersey for what proved to be the Devils’ toughest test of the week. A seesaw battle eventually saw New Jersey come out on top 6-5. It wasn’t pretty, but Clemmensen did what was needed to get his team the win.
The victory was Clemmensen’s 25th of the season, passing the mark set by Alain Chevrier in 1986-87 and tied by Chris Terreri in 1990-91 for the most wins in a season by a Devils goaltender not named Brodeur.
He won’t have many chances to win more games this season, but Clemmensen’s play should translate into a hefty raise and a shot at a No. 1 job somewhere other than New Jersey next season.
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