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Gomez goal, assist help Devils top Bruins

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils got a win
from a goalie who hadn't won in nearly three months and the first
goal in six games from their second-leading scorer. It all came on
an emotional night when they retired the jersey of one of the
franchise's most revered players.

Not a bad evening for a team that has struggled lately to put
some distance between itself and the teams chasing it for an
Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Scott Gomez broke out of a scoring drought with a goal and an
assist and Scott Clemmensen won in his first start in nearly three
months in New Jersey's 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Friday
night.

Gomez was a question mark after getting hit in the face by a
puck in New Jersey's 6-5 overtime loss to Atlanta on Thursday
night. But wearing a protective visor and getting eye drops from
the team trainer between shifts, he scored his 25th goal of the
season in the first minute and the Devils never trailed as they won
for just the second time in their last seven games.

"The doctor said I might be little blurry, but if you can play,
you can play," said Gomez, who sported a sizable bruise under his
right eye. "I never liked wearing the visor, but as much as I hate
it, there are no excuses at this time of year."

The win put the Devils three points ahead of the eight-place
Thrashers, who were idle Friday, in the Eastern Conference playoff
race. Montreal is one point behind Atlanta.

On a night when the Devils retired former defenseman Ken
Daneyko's No. 3, they got a win from Clemmensen in his first start
since Dec. 29. He had done mop-up duty for Martin Brodeur in
back-to-back losses two weeks ago, which actually helped him
against Boston.

"When I got to play a couple of weeks ago, that kind of helped
me get my feet wet again," he said. "With the way things are
going, this was a big game for us."

Brian Gionta, Zach Parise and Paul Martin also scored for New
Jersey, and Clemmensen stopped 25 shots. Glen Murray and Brad
Isbister scored for Boston, which lost its third straight game.
Isbister's goal came with 45 seconds left in the game.

Parise's 10th goal of the season chased Boston goalie Andrew
Raycroft, who gave up three goals on 15 shots. The Bruins fell 10
points behind Atlanta for the final playoff spot with 11 games to
go.

"We can feel bad for ourselves, but no one else is going to,"
said Raycroft. "We've just got to go out and battle for each
other. We have no choice."

Raycroft was replaced by Tim Thomas, who gave up one of the more
inexplicable goals of the season to Martin in the third period.

The Devils' defenseman flipped the puck off the boards and into
the Bruins' zone from two lines away and the puck advanced slowly
to Thomas, who looked like Bill Buckner trying to grab Mookie
Wilson's grounder in the 1986 World Series.

Game notes
Gionta's power-play goal in the first period was his 20th
extra-strength goal of the season, breaking the team record set by
current Devils assistant coach John McLean in 1990-91 ... Among the
celebrities on hand for the Daneyko ceremony were former New York
Jets defensive lineman Joe Klecko and former heavyweight boxer
Gerry Cooney.