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Gionta, Rafalski each score twice in Devils' win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils' best

offensive output in more than a month brought a slight smile to Lou

Lamoriello's normally tight lips.

The Devils general manager took over as coach when Larry

Robinson resigned last week and saw his team continue to struggle.

Goals weren't a problem Wednesday night as Brian Gionta and Brian

Rafalski each scored twice to lead the Devils to a 7-2 victory over

the Washington Capitals.

"It's nice to see some results come from working hard,"

Lamoriello said as the Devils improved to 2-3 since he went behind

the bench. "We got some bounces and the puck went in."

Sergei Brylin, Jay Pandolfo and John Madden also scored, and

Martin Brodeur made 23 saves to help the Devils snap a three-game

losing streak. The seven goals were the most since the Devils beat

the Lightning 8-2 at Tampa Bay on Nov. 25.

The power play finally showed some life. The Devils were

3-for-10 after going 4-for-100 in their previous 14 games.

"With what's gone on here the last couple of weeks, we've got

to enjoy this," said Scott Gomez, who had three assists. "You've

got to feel good about yourself. These are the points we need."

Alex Ovechkin and Brian Sutherby scored for Washington.

Ovechkin opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 9:44 of

the first, his rookie-leading 22nd goal.

The Devils countered with two goals in 13 seconds.

Brylin got the first on a shot from the left circle over Brent

Johnson's glove at 12:40. Rafalski followed with a power-play goal,

beating Johnson -- penalized for delay of game following Brylin's

goal -- with a shot from the point.

Johnson was replaced by Olaf Kolzig at 6:14 of the second period

after making an awkward stop on Brylin.

Johnson said he injured a groin in the first period and it

tightened up in the second.

"I felt like I had no strength," Johnson said. "It was tough

to squeeze the legs together. I feel terrible for coming out of the

game like that. I didn't want it to get any worse."

Gionta beat Kolzig at 13:18 with a low shot to the glove side

that gave New Jersey a 3-1 lead.

Brodeur preserved that margin with a glove save on Brian

Wilsie's point-blank shot with 2:26 remaining in the period. That

was Washington's last chance to get back in the game.

"We had a couple of chances early and then again in the

second," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "Right there, Wilsie

had a shot and Brodeur made the save."

In the third, Pandolfo extended the Devils' lead to 4-1 when he

beat Kolzig with a backhander at 6:47.

Sutherby scored for Washington at 10:08, but any potential rally

was crushed when Gionta got a power-play goal at 12:03. Madden

scored on a breakaway exactly a minute later.

Rafalski closed out the scoring at 18:12 on a 5-on-3 power

play.Game notes
Devils forward Patrik Elias, who has not played this season

while recuperating from Hepatitis A, has resumed practicing. ...

Grant Marshall returned for the Devils after missing five games

because of a groin injury. On his first shift of the game, Marshall

fought Washington D Brendan Witt. ... The Devils recalled D David

Hale from Albany of the AHL and assigned D Dan McGillis to the

River Rats. ... The Capitals have lost their last six games in New

Jersey.