Johan Hedberg recovered from a shaky start and Alexei Kovalev and Mario Lemieux fueled a comeback from a two-goal deficit as the Penguins evened the Eastern Conference finals at one win apiece with a 4-2 victory over the Devils.
Nicknamed "The Moose," Hedberg surrendered two goals on the first nine shots he faced and was clobbered by New Jersey's Scott Gomez in a shaky first period.
But the Swedish rookie stopped the last 20 shots and helped kill all five power plays as the sixth-seeded Penguins rallied for their league-leading sixth postseason road win.
"Whenever we take the lead or tie the game, he's always trying to be supportive and make big saves. I think that says a lot about our goalie," Kovalev said. "He has to be the same and not put his head down. He finished the game, he was big, he came back, made some big saves to help us win the game."
"He looked a little unsure of himself because we had a lot of traffic, we were going to the net, we were creating opportunities. But the moment we let up, he bounced back up with the rest of their team," Devils center Bobby Holik added.
Kovalev had a goal and an assist and Lemieux picked up a pair of assists for the Penguins, who host Games Three and Four on Thursday and Saturday.
Neither Hedberg nor his teammates were very good in the first period, but they came to life early in the second. Perennial Devils' nemeses Alexei Morozov and Kovalev scored on consecutive shots to tie it and Rene Corbet's first playoff goal put Pittsburgh in front with 4:05 to go in the period.
Robert Lang capped the scoring early in the third for the Penguins.
"It didn't look too good the first 20 minutes," Lemieux said. "We were upset about it, obviously, and made some adjustments and started to skate a little better."
Jay Pandolfo and Petr Sykora scored for defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey, which fell to 5-4 at home in this year's playoffs and has lost nine of the last 15 postseason games at Continental Airlines Arena.
"We played like we had the game won already. That's a mistake with that team," said Devils captain Scott Stevens. "We had some turnovers and we started thinking offense and abandoned our game a bit, and it cost us."
The momentum already had started to shift when Morozov scored Pittsburgh's first shorthanded goal of the playoffs 9:20 into the second period. With Corbet in the penalty box for holding, Lemieux carried down the left side on a 2-on-1 and flipped a harmless shot -- his first of the series. Brodeur sticked it away, but an unchecked Morozov swept in the rebound for his second postseason goal.
Hedberg produced the save of the game as the Devils' power play expired. Gomez burst down the slot on a breakaway, but Hedberg got a piece of the puck with his left pad to keep the Penguins in striking distance.
"I wanted to be patient and see if he was going to shoot first or if he was going to deke," Hedberg said. "After you give up a bad goal like the first, you want to try and come back and get revenge on that. So you wait for that opportunity to come up with a big save. They came out pretty good, but it's the goaltender's job to make the stops."
Just over a minute after Corbet's penalty expired, Pittsburgh tied it on its next shot. Lemieux intercepted defenseman Ken Daneyko's clearing attempt and slid the puck to Kovalev, whose one-time blast from the top of the right faceoff circle beat Brodeur to the glove side.
The Penguins made it three goals on four shots on Corbet's goal. Defenseman Brian Rafalski tried to clear the puck from in front of his own net but put it on the stick of Corbet, who whacked it inside the right goalpost to end a 13-game playoff scoring drought.
"(The puck) was bouncing everywhere," Corbet said. "I just tried to whack it as hard as I could and surprise Martin."
New Jersey went back on the power play late in the second when Jan Hrdina took a tripping penalty. But Pittsburgh had two chances to open some breathing room.
Lang got the insurance goal 5:19 into the final period. Moments after avoiding a penalty for hooking Sykora in the neutral zone, Kovalev made a backhanded centering pass out of the right corner and Lang one-timed a wrist shot from the faceoff dot between Brodeur's pads for his fourth playoff tally.
The Devils did get a puck past Hedberg with 7:52 remaining, but referee Kevin Pollock immediately waved off Elias' goal, ruling the whistle had blown. That infuriated Stevens, who pounded his fists on top of the net.
"I'm a little surprised the ref didn't move. He stayed at one spot, he didn't come over to take a look at the side the puck was on," Stevens said. "It was never covered the whole time. It was a goal that was disallowed; seven minutes left, you never know. It's unfortunate."
As in Game One, the Penguins got an early power play when defenseman Sean O'Donnell was penalized for tripping 80 seconds into the opening period. But unlike Saturday's opener, the Devils killed it.
Just over 5 1/2 minutes later, New Jersey took the lead as Pandolfo's centering attempt from the outer edge of the right faceoff circle tipped off Hedberg's right pad and flipped under the goalie's arm.
"I saw the guy coming to the net. I wanted to deflect it to the corner, but it had my pad and found a way in," Hedberg explained.
It was Pandolfo's first postseason goal since Game One of the 1999 conference quarterfinals against Pittsburgh, ending a 43-game playoff scoring drought.
The Devils squandered a power-play chance midway through the period and Pittsburgh got another advantage with 4:18 left after Gomez barreled into Hedberg and was penalized for goalie interference.
But Sykora doubled New Jersey's lead 52 seconds later and tied for the league lead with his second shorthanded goal of the playoffs. Patrik Elias' outlet pass helped Sykora split two defenders. He moved in alone on Hedberg and wristed a shot along the ice and between the goalie's pads with 3:26 left.
It capped a strange period for Sykora, who had two shots blocked during the Devils' power play and whiffed on two others.
Defenseman Scott Niedermayer and left wing Sergei Brylin returned to the lineup for New Jersey after missing four and five games, respectively. Niedermayer suffered a concussion on a vicious elbow from Tie Domi of Toronto in Game Four of the conference semifinals while Brylin underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.