NEW YORK (AP) _ Scott Gomez is enjoying his time with linemates Patrick
Elias and Brian Gionta.
The trio was together for a sixth game Saturday and combined for 11 points
in the New Jersey Devils' 7-3 victory over the New York Rangers.
Gomez had two goals and added three assists for the second time in three
games, Elias had two and two, and Gionta had a goal and an assist for the
Devils, who rebounded from a loss at Washington on Thursday.
``It's a matter of confidence,'' Elias said. ``We're creating and working
Gomez had his first multigoal game of the season and tied his career-high
with five points. He set up three goals Tuesday in a tie with Minnesota and has
nine points in three games.
He didn't mind missing out on his second NHL hat trick.
``As long as we got the two points,'' Gomez said. ``The last time I got a
hat trick, we ended up tying.''
This game was never in doubt as the Devils took a 2-0 lead 5:58 in and were
ahead 4-1 after the first period behind Gomez's goals and an assist on Grant
Turner Stevenson also had a first-period goal, and Gomez set up Elias and
Gionta in the second as the advantage grew to 6-2. The Devils are 3-1-1 after
losing four times in six games.
Martin Rucinsky, Jaromir Jagr and Bobby Holik scored for the Rangers, who
again came out flat after a 6-2 victory Thursday over the Islanders. The
Rangers are 5-0 against their biggest rivals this season, but 0-3-1-1
``If I could give you an explanation that made sense, I would absolutely
give it to you,'' Rangers coach Glen Sather said. ``It's disappointing,
demoralizing and depressing. Whatever adjective you want to use pretty much
fills the bill.''
Jagr, who assisted on Holik's goal, has points in six straight games. He has
two goals and two assists in two games after sitting out two because of a sore
New York is 4-12-2 in its last 18 games to slip dangerously close to missing
the playoffs for the seventh straight year. The Rangers are in 12th place and
trail the playoff cutoff by double digits with only 21 games remaining.
``Every time you're able to join the gang and try to kick them out, it's
good,'' said New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, who made 26 saves.
Brodeur said he didn't feel at his best two days after sitting out a game
for just the fifth time this season. He was all smiles after the victory.
``It's a big rivalry and you just learn to hate them,'' he said. ``I was
with my kid and a guy said, 'Go Rangers' and he said, 'Daddy we're in New
Jersey, what's going on?'
``It's just the way it is, so that's why when we come up and do something
like that it's pretty good to stick it to them a little bit.''
Mike Dunham took the brunt of the abuse from the Devils, allowing five goals
on 17 shots before being replaced by Jussi Markkanen 2:37 into the second when
Gomez made it 1-0 just 2:31 in. A defensive breakdown by the Rangers left
Stevenson alone in front to slam in his eighth goal at 5:58.
Rucinsky cut the deficit in half at 10:53, but Gomez scored his second of
the game 2:33 later to make it 3-1. Marshall extended the lead with a
power-play goal at 15:45.
Dunham came out for the second period but was gone when Elias scored on New
Jersey's second shot.
Jagr brought the Rangers within 5-2 at 5:56 but Gionta restored the
four-goal lead 1:14 later _ seconds after knocking over Markkanen in the
``He wasn't real happy to begin with and after the goal I guess it didn't
help him out at all,'' Gionta said.
Holik scored 1:25 into the third before Elias answered 50 seconds after with
his 23rd goal. It was his first goal in 14 games against the Devils, the team
with which he spent his first 12 NHL seasons.
``It's embarrassing and very hard to take,'' Holik said. ``I say that
because we played my old team, but performances like that are indigestible to