Gomez sees way clear to play with eye injury

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:16 AM ET

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- If the Maple Leafs need a lesson in determination in what's left of the season that success forgot, they should check out Scott Gomez.

The New Jersey Devils forward sucked it up in a big way on Friday night, ignoring a scratched cornea to help the Devils snap a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory against the visiting Boston Bruins.

Gomez was injured a night earlier in Atlanta and departed Philips Arena with a patch covering his right eye after getting struck against the Thrashers.

On Friday, he put on a visor, had a trainer apply eye drops between shifts and recorded a goal and an assist.

Though Gomez later told reporters he did not want to miss playing on the night the Devils sent Ken Daneyko's No. 3 to the rafters at Continental Airlines Arena, he could not sit out during such a crucial time.

"The doctor said I might be a little blurry, but if you can play, you can play," Gomez said.

"There was scratch on the eyeball and my vision was blurry, but it's okay now. My pirate days are over.

"There are no excuses at this time of year."

That kind of outlook would benefit the Leafs.

The Devils are not yet in the clear as far as the playoffs are concerned.

With 12 games to go, they have 79 points and are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

Not far behind going into last night were the Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens, a couple of clubs being chased by the Leafs.

The Devils have won just two of their past seven games but one player who has managed to continue a career season is 5-foot-7, 175-pound Brian Gionta.

Gionta had 37 goals and 28 assists in 166 games before 2005-06; he presently has 39 goals and 29 assists in 70 games.

Gionta could set the Devils record for goals in one year. It's 46, set by Pat Verbeek in 1987-88.

Gionta has 20 power-play goals, one more than the previous team mark of 19 set by John MacLean in 1990-91.

Since returning after a bout with hepatitis, Patrik Elias has 27 points (eight goals and 19 assists) in 26 games.


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