BOSTON (AP) _ The New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins are still hoping for
Only one team played like it.
Martin Brodeur stopped 38 shots, and Scott Niedermayer and Patrik Elias each
had a goal and two assists Saturday as the Devils beat the Bruins 5-2 and moved
into first place in the Atlantic Division. The teams will play again on Sunday,
with the Eastern Conference playoff seedings on the line.
``It's still a big game for us,'' Devils forward Scott Gomez said. ``It just
shows you how crazy this league is. Anything could happen.''
Playing without captain and leading scorer Joe Thornton, the Bruins failed
to pick up a point for just the third time in 14 games. Andrew Raycroft, a
leading candidate for rookie of the year, allowed the five goals on 30 New
Jersey shots as the Devils won their fourth straight game.
They have a chance to make it five in the regular-season finale.
The Eastern Conference playoff seedings won't be settled until Sunday when
the Bruins can finish second with a victory. New Jersey will be either third or
``It's all about playing well going into the playoffs,'' Devils forward John
Madden said. ``It's very important to be able to have confidence and believe in
each other going into the playoffs.''
Erik Rasmussen, Turner Stevenson and Tommy Albelin also scored for the
Devils, who entered the day second in the NHL on the power play and added two
more goals with a man advantage.
``We've got to stay out of the penalty box,'' said Sergei Samsonov, who
scored for Boston. ``We spent too much time in the penalty box and it just
breaks the momentum.''
Martin Lapointe also scored for Boston. Thornton was not in the lineup two
days after he hit the ice hard following a slash and sustained what the team
will only describe as an ``upper body injury.''
Rasmussen scored for New Jersey in the first, then the Bruins tied it when
Sean O'Donnell threaded a pass through the neutral zone to Lapointe. He
squeezed through a pair of defenders at the blue line and went in all alone on
Thirteen seconds after an interference penalty on Dan McGillis, Niedermayer
took a pass from Viktor Kozlov and lofted it past Raycroft. Seventeen seconds
after that, Michal Grosek took a double minor for high sticking; with 39.1
seconds left in the period and 1:15 left in the four-minute power play,
Raycroft left a rebound just to the left of the net and Stevenson swiped it in
to make it 3-1.
The Bruins made it 3-2 when Samsonov worked a give and go with Michael
Nylander. Nylander's centering pass got caught up in traffic and bounced out to
Samsonov, who beat Brodeur while the defense was occupied putting Travis Green
on his seat in the net.
The Devils made it 4-2 when Scott Gomez hit Albelin at the side of the net.
He put the puck on his backhand and wristed it through Raycroft's legs. New
Jersey made it 5-2 off a faceoff in the Boston zone right after a high-sticking
penalty by Jiri Slegr in the final minutes.