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New Jersey Devils 7, New York Rangers 3 FINAL @NHLdotcom

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 hard.''

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 Marshall's score.

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 immediately following.

``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 groin.

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 Elias scored.

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 crease.

``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 me.''

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