Bruins Skate Past Devils

The Boston Bruins' thought they settled their goaltending controversy when they signed holdout Byron Dafoe.

Not so fast.

John Grahame made 30 saves and Steve Heinze scored 3:18 into the third period as the Bruins earned their fifth consecutive victory, beating New Jersey 3-1 and spoiling Claude Lemieux's return to the Devils.

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  • Grahame has allowed just two goals in winning his last three starts. But he's destined to be sent back to Providence in the AHL as soon as Dafoe, who missed the first 12 games, is ready.

    "I've done my time in the minors," Grahame said. "And the patience that I learned in my experience is helping me now."

    The Bruins' other backup, Rob Tallas, would have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors.

    "We will have to see if Dafoe is ready for Saturday. Or we may stay like this for awhile," Bruins coach Pat Burns said. "Dafoe has not prepared for a hockey game since last May."

    Martin Brodeur stopped 30 shots for the Devils, who were 0-for-3 on power-play opportunities and have now gone 19 straight chances without a goal. New Jersey had beaten the Bruins in Boston five consecutive times and had only lost once to the Bruins in their last 11 games.

    Scott Gomez put New Jersey ahead when he scored on a rebound off John Madden's shot at 14:58 of the first period. The goal ended the Bruins' 101:06 shutout streak.

    Gomez is tied with Peter Schaefer of the Vancouver Canucks for th NHL rookie scoring lead with 12 points, and also leads the Devils in scoring.

    The Bruins capitalized on a two-man advantage when Lyle Odelein and Denis Pederson were simultaneously sent off for minor penalties. Bruins defenseman Darren Van Impe's slapshot from the blue line beat Brodeur at 7:15 of the second period.

    Heinze freed himself along the boards and wristed a shot over Brodeur's shoulder to make it 2-1. Mikko Eloranta added an empty-netter.

    "It is nice to have these goalies back there," Heinze said. "We feel like even if we do make a mistake, we can survive and someone will be there to back us up."

    New Jersey had its best chance to tie the game with just over five minutes to play but Grahame made a glove save on Patrick Elias.

    Lemieux played his first game of the season for the Devils after being reacquired Wednesday from the Colorado Avalanche for 26-year-old Brian Rolston. Lemieux played with the Devils from 1990-95, and scored a team-record 13 goals in the playoffs, to help the Devils to win the Stanley Cup in 1995.

    "Everything happened so fast," Lemieux said. "Last night, I'm in the locker room with the guys in Colorado and tonight I'm here."

    Boston was without their co-leading scorer Jason Allison, who is expected to miss three weeks with an injured wrist and has yet to score a goal this season.

    Dafoe is expected to make his season debut Saturday.

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