Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Clemmensen Earns First NHL Playoff Win

It took a long time—11 years to be exact—but goaltender Scott Clemmensen finally has his first career Stanley Cup playoff victory.

Clemmensen came on in relief of Jose Theodore on Tuesday night, and stopped all 19 shots he faced to lift the visiting Florida Panthers to a  4-3 win over his old NHL team, the New Jersey Devils, at the Prudential Center in Newark.  The Devils took a 3-0 lead just 6:16 into the contest, before Clemmensen came on to blank the host team for the final 43:44 for the win and a 2-1 series lead for the Panthers.

It was his first NHL playoff game since 2006 when he relived former Devils teammate Martin Brodeur in a loss to Carolina, and just his second NHL playoff appearance ever.

A shot by Devils defenseman Marius Zidlicky did go in off Clemmensen, 34, late in the second period last night—but officials ruled that the goalie had been interfered with by Devils forward Steve Bernier, and the tying goal was negated. Clemmensen is now 5-0 all-time against New Jersey,. whom he skated for from 2001-2007, and also in 2008-09.

Drafted in the eighth round by New Jersey in 1997, Clemmensen played four years at Boston College, winning 99 games and recording 13 shutouts. He went 30-7-2 as a senior at BC in 2000-01, and backstopped the Eagles to their first national championship since 1952 with a 3-2 overtime win over North Dakota in the NCAA title game in Albany.

Clemmensen, a 6'3", 205-pound native of Des Moines, Iowa,  is now in his 10th NHL season. Besides the Panthers and Devils, he has also played with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and owns a career regular-season NHL record of 64-45-20 with a 2.64 goals-against average and seven shutouts. His best NHL season came in 2008-09 with New Jersey, when he went 25-13-1 in 40 outings with a 2.39 GAA and two shutouts, and helped the Devils qualify for the postseason as Brodeur was sidelined long-term with a biceps injury.

Clemmensen went 14-6-6 with a 2.57 GAA and one whitewash with Florida in 2011-12, including a 3-1 win at New Jersey on Feb. 11. Game Four of the best-of-seven series is tomorrow night in Newark.

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