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Shanahan, Devils dump Thrashers

By Jim Diamond

PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Brendan Shanahan did not waste

much time making an impact in his season debut as the New Jersey

Devils recorded a 3-1 triumph over the Nashville Predators on

Monday.

David Clarkson also tallied and All-Star Zach Parise added an

empty-net goal for New Jersey, which concluded its six-game road

trip by winning four in a row to finish with a 5-1-0 record.

"Anytime you go on a six-game road trip and go 5-1, you've done

a lot of things pretty well," New Jersey coach Brent Sutter

said. "As the trip went on, we got better and better."

Brian Rolston and John Madden notched two assists apiece and

Scott Clemmensen picked up his 18th win following a 33-save

performance for the Devils.

"We have been playing some good hockey lately, and obviously

this road trip was a huge success for us," Rolston said.

Radek Bonk scored and Pekka Rinne turned aside 32 shots for

Nashville, which dropped its ninth in its last 12 games.

"We just haven't been able to bury any pucks to get some points

in games lately," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Hopefully

our fortunes will change over the final 36 games."

After a scoreless first period, New Jersey struck early in the

second.

With the Devils on a 5-on-3 power play, Shanahan carried the

puck in along the goal line from the left side, deked defender

Greg Zanon to the ice and slid the puck by Rinne on the far

side.

"I was thinking pass, but the defenseman left his feet a little

early, so I just put the puck on net," Shanahan said. "The goal

certainly gave me a bit of a boost."

Shanahan was playing in his first game this season after signing

as a free agent with New Jersey on January 15. He picked the

right foe to face in his debut, as his 23 goals scored against

the Predators are the most of any Nashville opponent.

"I was able to get a few good shifts in the first period to find

my legs and then put one away in the second," said Shanahan, who

recorded a game-high six shots on goal in 13:59 of ice time

said.

"I probably played a bit more than I expected, but I felt good."

Sutter was pleased with the performance.

"Shanny played great for us," Sutter said.

Clarkson doubled the New Jersey lead at 3:21 of the second.

Rolston fired a slap shot from the high slot. Clarkson, who was

stationed just to the left of Rinne, tipped the puck by the

Finnish netminder for his 10th goal of the season.

The goal extended Clarkson's point-scoring streak to a

career-high five games.

Bonk put the Predators on the scoreboard with 5:48 remaining in

the third with a power-play goal.

With Bonk and New Jersey defenseman Bryce Salvador in front of

Clemmensen, former Devil Jason Arnott fired a slap shot from

above the left circle. The shot appeared to strike Salvador and

then squeezed between the pads of Clemmensen, just trickling

across the goal line inside the left post.

"The effort was there, but we just didn't win," Arnott said.

"We battled, but we just didn't get the outcome, and that is the

bottom line."

Parise's empty-net goal capped the scoring for New Jersey.

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