COLUMBUS, Ohio – David Clarkson scored twice and Martin Brodeur made 13 saves to earn his NHL-record 115th shutout as the New Jersey Devils snapped a two-game slide with a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.
Nick Palmieri also scored, and Mattias Tedenby added two assists for the Devils, who are trying to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff race. New Jersey is in 11th place, seven points behind eighth-place Buffalo and the postseason cutoff.
The Devils, who have 10 games left, were on a 23-3-2 tear before back-to-back losses to Ottawa and Washington this week damaged their already long shot playoff hopes.
Brodeur was rarely tested as he made his 11th straight start. He used his leg pads to stop only a handful of dangerous chances by Columbus, which looked a step slow one day after an overtime win at Minnesota.
Steve Mason stopped 28 shots for the Blue Jackets, 2-6-4 in their last 12 games.
New Jersey broke out of a scoring slump after netting only one goal in the two-game skid. The Devils worked their game plan of simplifying the attack and fighting for rebounds to perfection.
Clarkson opened the scoring at 9:24 of the first period. Jacob Josefson beat two Blue Jackets out of the corner with the puck and threw a backhander on net. Clarkson, alone in front, popped the rebound past Mason.
Columbus' best opportunity came off the stick of R.J. Umberger, whose shot from the right dot clanged off the post.
The Blue Jackets didn't register their first shot on goal until under a minute left in the opening period, drawing applause from the sparse crowd. Another shot was added during the intermission by off-ice officials.
The Devils made it 2-0 near the midpoint of the second period.
On the rush, Andy Green fired a shot that Mason couldn't corral as players were flying everywhere. Tedenby dug the puck loose, and Clarkson scored into an open net for his 12th goal.
Moments later, Mason stopped Ilya Kovalchuk, scoreless in four of five games, on a breakaway.
Brodeur's best stop of the period came at the 12-minute mark on a hard snap shot from Rick Nash.
Palmieri stripped the puck from defenseman Kris Russell, cutting through the low crease, and quickly snapped a shot past a surprised Mason at 3:22 for his seventh goal.
A few minutes later, Brodeur hugged the post with his pad to stop an in-tight chance by Matt Calvert.
Notes: Columbus, eight points back in the West, also has 10 games remaining. ... New Jersey forwards Rod Pelley, who was scratched, and David Steckel both starred at Ohio State. ... Mason is 0-3 all-time against the Devils. ... The Devils began a four-game road trip. ... Kovalchuk hit the post in the third period. ... The Blue Jackets have lost five in a row at home.