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Devils blow lead but outlast Bruins in OT

THE gap is still great between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, but the way the New Jersey Devils beat the Boston Bruins gave them something above and beyond two big points -- a strong sense of belief.

Instead of dropping their heads and limping out of Beantown, the Devils rallied to force overtime after blowing a two-goal lead in the third period and beat the Bruins 4-3 on Thursday night.

"They're the team that everybody needs to measure themselves against, and rightfully so," said Jamie Langenbrunner, who scored two goals, including the winner 1:11 into OT. "They've had a great year, and we just wanted to see if we could play with them. I think we proved a little something to ourselves tonight that if we're on top of our game we can."

The Bruins still hold an 11-point lead in the East, but now their closest pursuers are the Devils, the Atlantic Division leaders who hopped over idle Washington with the win.

Langenbrunner, who scored the game's first goal, gave the Devils their seventh consecutive victory when he swept around and put in a rebound of Colin White's shot that went off Travis Zajac. Scott Clemmensen stopped 24 shots for New Jersey.

In other National Hockey League games, it was: Hurricanes 3, Lightning 2; Islanders 5, Thrashers 4; Panthers 5, Canadiens 1; Stars 4, Red Wings 2; Senators 3, Blues 1; Maple Leafs 7, Avalanche 4; Sharks 2, Coyotes 0; and Kings 5, Blackhawks 2.

In Boston, Langenbrunner and Zach Parise scored to put the Devils 2-0 up after two periods, but the Bruins took the lead on Dennis Wideman's shot with 6:30 left.

Tim Thomas made 26 saves for the Bruins, who lost for the fifth time in 21 games. Marc Savard had a goal and an assist, and Phil Kessel had a pair of assists in his first game after missing six with mononucleosis.


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