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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Clarkson one goal shy of 30

By Katie Strang

With the Devils leading the Bolts 6-3 midway through the third, three teammates approached David Clarkson and told him to take Ilya Kovalchuk's place on the point for the team's 5-on-3 power-play.

Minutes earlier Clarkson had tallied his 29th goal of the season and they badly wanted to see him get No. 30.

"It was pretty cool that the guys did that," he said "I know I'm not that type of player to play there on the power-play, but it was pretty good to be there."

The gritty winger did not reach the benchmark during the Devils' 6-4 win over the Bolts but he has shattered his previous career high in goals -- 17 in 2009-10. He now has four more games left in the regular season to reach the milestone.

How much does it mean to him?

"It's a great accomplishment to get to, but at the end of the day, us winning is more importnat than anything," he said. "If we keep winning games, I'm happy."

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While Clarkson aims for his 30th, Bryce Salvador is still trying for that elusive first goal of the season, even though it appeared as if Thursday was the end of his drought.

"I had one for about five minutes," he joked. "I'll take that."

The veteran defenseman unleashed a hard slapshot from the point to beat Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson early in the third, but although he was originally credited with the goal, it was later awarded to Alexei Ponikarovsky who got a piece of the shot while screening Roloson in front.

"I think Poni's broken stick was the proof of it," said the snake-bitten Salvador. "I wanna see it, though."

Because of a concussion that sidelined him for the entirety of last season, Salvador has not scored in over two years. His last goal was against Ottawa, December 18, 2009.