Newark, NJ – The Boston Bruins leapfrogged the Montreal Canadiens for the Northeast Division lead with a 5-4 win over the fading New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.
The Bruins raced out to a 4-0 lead before the Devils battled back and closed to within a goal two times in the third period.
Gregory Campbell beat New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur twice in Boston's three-goal opening frame.
Jaromir Jagr and Rich Peverley each had two assists for Boston, which sits one point ahead of the Canadiens.
The Devils, meanwhile, are winless in eight straight games (0-4-4). The slide, which coincides with the absence of Ilya Kovalchuk, has dropped the defending conference champs to 10th in the standings, four points out of a playoff spot.
"At the end of the day, there's only one team that's gonna give us a chance and it's ourselves. We have to have that attitude," Brodeur said.
Up 4-1, the Bruins had an opportunity to pad their lead when New Jersey defenseman Anton Volchenkov elbowed Brad Marchand in the head along the half wall at the 15:11 mark of the second period.
Volchenkov received a five-minute major and a game misconduct on the play. Marchand needed to be helped off the ice and did not return.
The Bruins didn't score on the lengthy power play, but to make matters worse, they surrendered a shorthanded goal to Travis Zajac at 18:12 after turning the puck over in the neutral zone.
Andy Greene beat Boston netminder Anton Khudobin on the glove side with a wrister from the left circle 5:58 into the third period.
The Bruins, however, responded less than two minutes later when Daniel Paille retrieved a dump-in and fed Tyler Seguin a behind-the-net pass that he put through Brodeur's pads at 7:33.
Matt D'Agostini tapped in Dainius Zubrus' feed from just outside the crease past Khudobin with 37 seconds remaining, but New Jersey's couldn't overcome the early hole.
"I guess we got too satisfied. We really took our foot off the gas and they almost stole one," Seguin said.
Campbell opened the scoring 1:10 into the game, putting home the rebound of a Jagr shot.
The Bruins were whistled for four penalties in the first period, but the league's top penalty-killing unit produced two shorthanded goals.
Johnny Boychuk went off for tripping at 1:48 and a short time later Zdeno Chara joined him in the box for delay of game.
Boston killed off the first penalty to Boychuk, who picked up the puck as he exited the box. The defenseman was hooked on a breakaway by Marek Zidlicky, resulting in a penalty shot. Brodeur, however, stacked the pads to deny Boychuk.
As the penalty to Chara was winding down, Dennis Seidenberg was called for an illegal check to the head.
Peverley picked off Steve Sullivan's pass in the Boston end, creating a 2- on-1 with Paille, who potted his own rebound at 4:51.
With Nathan Horton serving a holding penalty, Campbell provided a screen and deflected Andrew Ference's point shot behind Brodeur at 8:12.
A power-play goal by Chara made it 4-0 at 3:06 of the second.
Patrik Elias put New Jersey on the board at 11:07 of the middle stanza.
Boston has won seven straight and 11 of the last 12 meetings with the Devils ... The Bruins had scored two goals or fewer in each of their previous eight road games ... Brodeur made his 1,199th career start in the NHL ... New Jersey defenseman Bryce Salvador left the game after getting hit on the wrist by a Chara slap shot.