Gregory Campbell scored twice in a three-goal first period and the Boston Bruins regained first place in the Northeast Division with a 5-4 victory over the reeling New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.
In winning for the fifth time in six games, the Bruins scored three times against Martin Brodeur in the opening 8:12, took a four-goal lead and then held on. Daniel Paille and Campbell capped the outburst with short-handed goals in a 3:21 span.
Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin also scored and backup goaltender Anton Khudobin made 24 saves as the Bruins (56 points) moved a point ahead of the Montreal Canadiens with nine games to play in the lockout-shortened season.
Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Andy Greene and Matt D'Agostini scored for New Jersey, which has lost eight straight (0-4-4) in seeing its playoff hopes fade. The slide is its longest since 1985-86.
D'Agostini's goal got New Jersey within a goal with 37 seconds to play, but Boston dominated this game in moving into second place in the Eastern Conference behind Pittsburgh.
The first period was the difference, a session that included the sellout crowd 17,625 booing the home team a number of times and giving Brodeur sarcastic cheers after routine saves. He made only 13 stops in the game New Jersey made interesting by cutting a 4-0 deficit to a goal.
Not only did the Bruins score three times early, they killed off four penalties, including an early 1:27 two-man advantage. They even had lumbering defenseman Johnny Boychuk miss a penalty shot, or it would have been three short-handed goals.
Campbell put Boston ahead 70 seconds after the opening faceoff, but it was Jaromir Jagr, who did most of the work. The recently acquired 41-year-old controlled the puck between the circles despite being hounded. He eventually got a quick shot on Brodeur and Campbell pounced on the rebound, sliding it under the 40-year-old goaltender, who was making his 10th straight start.
The Bruins then killed off the two-man disadvantage and Boychuk got his penalty shot just seconds after coming out of the box and being hooked by Marek Zidlicky. Brodeur followed the Boston defenseman's slow-motion moves and stacked his pads to stop his shot.
It only slowed down the Bruins' momentarily.
A bad pass by forward Steve Sullivan at the point on another power play set up a 2-on-1 break for the Bruins a little less than three minutes later. Brodeur made the initial stop on Paille, but he swatted the rebound out of the air for his eighth goal.
Campbell got his fourth with a deflection of a shot from the point by Andrew Ference.
Chara made it 4-0 with a power-play goal early in the second period, but the Devils didn't give up.
Elias got them on the board with a deflection of a shot by Sullivan, and the momentum seemed to change after Devils' defenseman Anton Volchenkov elbowed Brad Marchand in the head, drawing a five-minute major and a game misconduct. It left the Devils with four defenseman because Bryce Salvador did not return after being hit in the hand on a shot by Chara earlier in the period .
Instead of putting the game away, the Bruins got lax and Zajac scored shorthanded late in the period to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Greene scored on a slap shot 5:58 into the third period to cut the lead to a goal. But Seguin scored in close off a nice pass by Paille less than two minutes later to give Boston breathing room.