Drouin-Deslauriers, Oilers stymie injury-plagued Devils

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) — Perhaps the New Jersey Devils’
biggest problem is not Martin Brodeur’s injury.

Rookie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers made 37 saves and was supported
by a second-period scoring spurt as the Edmonton Oilers took
advantage of the injury-plagued Devils’ fizzling offense in a
2-1 victory on Sunday.

“I thought he played very well and just looked solid,” Oilers
coach Craig MacTavish said. “There were lots of point shots and
he was just in the right spot and made a couple of really good
saves. He was solid all the way through.”

Former Devil defenseman Sheldon Souray netted his fifth goal of
the season and Ales Hemsky tallied with the man advantage, while
Drouin-Deslauriers turned aside all 20 shots he faced in the
second as Edmonton snapped a two-game losing skid.

“We limited our turnovers,” Souray said. “We know they’re a
team that lives and dies on the turnovers and making a lot of
their offense from good defense. I thought we kept it simple.
When we had it in our zone, we didn’t panic.”

Playing in his third career contest, the 24-year-old
Drouin-Deslauriers notched his second win.

“I felt pretty good. Obviously it’s always good when you win,”
Drouin-Deslauriers said. “Guys played great in front of me,
they blocked a lot of shots. I tried to be calm. That’s how I
prepare. I think the guys helped me a lot, too. That’s why we
won tonight. They let me see the puck the whole game.”

Zach Parise scored his 11th goal of the season in the third for
the Devils, who were without eight players due to injury en
route to suffering their sixth loss in eight games. New Jersey
has struggled since Brodeur suffered a torn bicep in his left
elbow, but in areas not associated with the four-time Vezina
Trophy winner.

“We worked hard, but we just couldn’t find a way to score,” New
Jersey’s Travis Zajac said. “We battled for all three periods
and played hard.”

The Devils have scored just six goals in their last four games
and Parise has provided the lone tally in each of their last two
contests, including a 3-1 loss to the defending Stanley Cup
champion Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

“It wasn’t that the effort wasn’t there, we’re not converting on
our chances,” Parise said. “We got two goals in the last two
games. We got to start putting some in the net.”

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Starting three straight contests in the wake of Brodeur’s
injury, goaltender Kevin Weekes was rested in favor of Scott
Clemmensen. Clemmensen made 26 saves in his first NHL game
since suffering a 6-2 loss on January 3 in Pittsburgh as a
member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

When news broke that Brodeur was slated to miss at least three
months, the Devils recalled the 31-year-old Clemmensen from
Lowell of the American Hockey League. He was 4-3-1 with a 3.46
goals-against average in eight games this season with the minor
league affiliate, and provided a stellar effort in his first
outing with the Devils since April 8, 2007 in this one.

Clemmensen was first exposed when Souray fired a wrister from
the inside left faceoff circle seven minutes into the second.
Hemsky followed six minutes later, weaving through several
defenders in the slot and taking advantage of a mistake by
Devils blue-liner Johnny Oduya. Oduya tapped the puck away from
a charging Hemsky, but the Oilers’ 25-year-old budding star kept
possession and guided the puck under Clemmensen’s pads with his

“We played hard,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “You have a
power play and you don’t score on it, get some quality scoring
chances. They get the next power play and they go down and
score. It puts them up, 2-0. It’s tough. You’re battling,
competing, but you try and do what you can.”

Hemsky, who also had an assist, now has points in eight
consecutive games on the road, recording five goals and six
assists in that span.

“I’m really confident with the puck,” Hemsky said. “If I get
the puck on the fly, I’m really confident I can beat a guy. I
feel good. I’m just trying to play my game and make plays.”

The Devils were without right wing Brian Gionta and defenseman
Bryce Salvador, who both suffered injuries in the loss to
Detroit on Saturday. Fellow blue-liner Paul Martin also mussed
his fourth straight contest with upper body soreness.

“We just keep plugging away,” Clemmensen said. “We came up
short the last couple of games, but our work ethic is good. We
put a lot of shots on net, especially tonight. You don’t get
down, it’s not going to do you any good. You keep your nose to
the grindstone, so to speak.”