He had gone eight playoff games without a goal, after scoring no less than 30 in the regular season, even as his team managed to win a first-round series for the first time in five years.
Then a rebound jumped out on Tuesday night in the third period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center, and David Clarkson was there to bury it past Ilya Bryzgalov. He gave the New Jersey Devils a lead they would not relinquish en route to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers to knot their second-round series at one game apiece.
It took the Toronto native a few seconds to come back to earth, both figuratively and literally: First from the high of scoring the go-ahead goal, and then from having to get down from atop the net he had been knocked over just after he released his game-winning shot.
Clarkson, who skated alongside Zach Parise and Patrik Elias in Game 2 with the injured Ilya Kovalchuk sidelined, made the most of his opportunity with a goal, three shots, three hits and a blocked shot. He had one assist in the 4-3 overtime loss on Sunday in Game 1 at Philadelphia.
"The points were coming but the puck just wasn't going in the net," said Clarkson (via nj.com), who had six assists in his first eight playoff games this spring. "I don't even remember anything, except being on the net when it went in."
Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series will be contested on Thursday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, where the Devils went 2-1 in the first round against the Florida Panthers, including a 3-2 win in Game 6 on an overtime goal by Travis Zajac.
Clarkson then set up two goals in the deciding Game 7 in Sunrise, Fla., including rookie Adam Henrique's game-winner in the second overtime session. He now has three goals and six assists for nine points in 29 career NHL postseason contests dating back to 2007.