EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Devils stood pat at this year's trade deadline. But a year-old deal is paying big dividends.
Jamie Langenbrunner scored the go-ahead goal 15 seconds into the third period and set up Joe Nieuwendyk's insurance tally as the Devils defeated the Boston Bruins, 4-2, to take a two games to none lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Langenbrunner and Nieuwendyk came over in March 2002 as part of a four-player trade with Dallas. Their line, with left wing Jeff Friesen, has accounted for five of New Jersey's six goals in the series, with Langenbrunner netting both game-winners.
"Our line's clicking pretty well right now," Langenbrunner said. "We've had a few chances and we're creating some opportunities. The way Dog's (John Madden) playing (Joe) Thornton's line, we feel we have to do some scoring. And right now, we're getting a few."
The Devils started the third period with a 4-on-3 power play after defenseman Bruins Nick Boynton was penalized for slashing Madden at the end of the second.
"I thought the call was late, and I don't understand a call like that, given how the game was played," Boynton said.
Langenbrunner got a pass from defenseman Scott Niedermayer just inside the blue line and ripped a slap shot that beat goaltender Steve Shields to the stick side and found room inside the left goalpost.
Eight of Langenbrunner's 18 career playoff goals have been game-winners. In last year's first-round loss to Carolina, he had just one assist in five games.
"I think anytime you fail, and that's what we did last year, it's a lot to think about all summer," Langenbrunner said. "It's driving a lot of us to try to do better and to succeed this year."
Less than two minutes after killing a penalty on Niedermayer, New Jersey padded its lead. A pass from Langenbrunner sent Nieuwendyk in on a breakaway and the 17-year veteran made no mistake, lifting a backhander over Shields and under the crossbar for his first playoff goal since 2001.
"Jeff (Friesen) made a great play in the defensive zone to show good patience," Nieuwendyk said. "He went rink-wide to Jamie and he gave me a nice touch pass up the middle."
Martin Brodeur protected the lead with 24 saves as the Devils became the only team to win both of its home games in this year's playoffs.
"This series is far from over," Langenbrunner cautioned. "We did what we had to do in winning our home games."
Glen Murray and defenseman Dan McGillis scored for the Bruins, who host Game Three on Sunday.
"Everybody in this locker room at one time or another has won four games in a row," Boynton said. "We're not doubting ourselves at all. What we have to do is go home and win Game Three on Sunday."
Boston tied it at 2-2 with 6:01 to go in the second period. With five seconds left on defenseman Colin White's roughing penalty, Jozef Stumpel backhanded a pass from behind the goal line to the top of the slot. McGillis' shot beat Brodeur high to the stick side.
The intensity picked up in the second period, with referees Kevin Pollock and Brad Watson handing out 10 penalties, including four for roughing.
The Bruins grabbed their first lead of the series 8:52 into the opening period when Murray put a backhander from low in the left faceoff circle past Brodeur for his 18th career playoff goal.
"That was a hit that seemed to wake everybody up," New Jersey coach Pat Burns said. "I think when he goes out and plays like that, it's easy for me behind the bench to yell, 'Hey, there's an example there.'" Less than a minute later, Friesen got a pass from Langenbrunner in the slot and wristed a shot through traffic and past Shields for his sixth career postseason goal and first in three years.
Knuble took a borderline interference penalty with 36 seconds to go in the period, and New Jersey needed just 10 seconds to take the lead.
Madden drew two defenders in the right faceoff circle but managed to slide the puck to the top of the slot, where Rafalski had time to fire a slap shot past Shields' stick side. It was the defenseman's 13th career playoff goal and the Devils' first in five power-play chances in the series.
New Jersey owned the worst power play in the NHL during the regular season but was 2-for-7 in this one.
"If you're power play's not clicking, it gives the other team the luxury to take you down," Langenbrunner said. "Once the power play gets going, it makes you think a little bit more about taking penalties."
"A couple of power-play goals against us is what really cost us tonight," Knuble admitted. "I thought our power play was pretty good, but their power play was very sharp."