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Gomez ties career high with five points

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."

Game notes
Gomez had five assists on March 30, 2003, against the
Islanders. ... New Jersey is 22-2-13-1 in its last 38
regular-season games against New York. ... Brodeur has started 64
straight versus the Rangers.