Scott Clemmensen knew exactly how long it had been since his last shutout.
When he blanked the Rangers, 3-0, tonight at Prudential Center it broke a nearly five-year shutout streak. His last shutout before that was a 5-0 win in Atlanta on March 26, 2004.
"It's been a long time," said Clemmensen, who made 27 saves tonight. "Obviously, I haven't played that many games in there, but it was nice to get it."
Actually, that shutout in Atlanta came in Clemmensen's fourth NHL start. Between that shutout and tonight's -- the third of his NHL career -- he played in 57 NHL games, including 35 this season.
This season, he had seven previous games in which he carried a shutout into the third period before giving up at least one goal. He said he was focusing more tonight on preventing the Rangers from climbing back in the game than trying to get the shutout.
"It was mostly because I didn't want them to pull within one," Clemmensen said. "We had a couple of chances there that (Henrik) Lundqvist stopped us and it just kind of kept the game tight...Tonight it was so close that it was more that I wanted to get the shutout, but I just didn't want them to pull closer and tie it obviously."
Clemmensen's teammates were happy to help him finally get the shutout after having so many near-misses earlier this season.
"It's always nice," defenseman Colin White said. "We were real excited when Zach (Parise) put that in the empty net (with 1:43 remaining to make it 3-0). Then, you start thinking about it. But no one wants to say anything, Then, if it happens, it's even more special. It's a big night for Clemmer and he deserves it."
None of the Devils complained that the Rangers pulled Lundqvist again after Parise's goal to try to break up the shutout.
Clemmensen said he was "a little bit" surprised the Rangers pulled the goalie again,"But hey give them credit. They battled all the way until the end and I expect nothing less from them."
Devils coach Brent Sutter said it didn't bother him either.
"Those are coach's decisions," he said. "Some people had an issue because I pulled our goalie in a 3-0 game with eight minutes left (in Carolina on Jan. 6). It's nothing different. I had no issue with that. I have no problem with that. I respect that."
Clemmensen's shutout was the first by a Devils goalie other than Martin Brodeur against the Rangers since Sean Burke blanked the Blueshirts, 5-0, on Oct. 10, 1988 at Madison Square Garden. Ron Low (6-0 on Nov. 18, 1984 at MSG) has the only the only other non-Brodeur shutout against the Rangers in team history. (Brodeur has seven career regular season shutouts vs. the Rangers.)
"I like that," Clemmensen said. "They're hard to get, especially against teams like that."
White said his left hand gave him no problems in tonight's game. He missed Saturday's loss to Los Angeles with a sore left hand after being hit with a shot Friday in Atlanta. X-rays taken Saturday were negative.