Defenseman Dan McGillis scored twice and the Bruins drove Brodeur from the net early in the third period as they kept alive their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Devils with a convincing 5-1 victory.
Brodeur had been dominant in helping the Devils capture the first three games of the series, stopping 82 of 85 shots. He was coming off his 14th career postseason shutout in Game Three on Sunday.
But in his 108th straight playoff start, Brodeur was replaced by Corey Schwab 3:37 into the third period after allowing five goals on 24 shots, including tallies 1:52 apart.
Brodeur did not seem concerned about being replaced.
"I just looked at him (Devils coach Pat Burns) and he looked at me," Brodeur said. "It was eye contact more than anything. It didn't bother me to get out of there."
It was just the second time in his career that Brodeur was yanked in a playoff game. The other time occurred in Game Four of the 1995 Eastern Conference finals against Philadelphia.
McGillis was the unlikely offensive hero, scoring twice in the second period to help the Bruins build a 3-0 lead.
"No secret to me shooting against Brodeur," McGillis said. "You pick a spot and shoot it as hard as you can."
Defenseman Scott Niedermayer scored early in the third period for New Jersey, which failed in its bid to sweep an opening round series for the first time since 2000 against Florida. The Devils went on to capture their second Stanley Cup championship that season.
The Devils next chance to close out the series comes Thursday at Continental Airlines Arena.
"The Bruins played well," Burns said. "You can't fault that. Nobody said this was going to be easy. They've been sitting here for the last couple of days, reading the things that have been said about them. The Bruins aren't going to roll over and die. We didn't close the deal tonight and we're going to have to do it (Thursday) night and we will."
"I thought they played well," said Devils winger Jay Pandolfo, who had a goal and an assist in Game Three. "It's always tough winning that fourth game. We weren't ready tonight for whatever reason and they were. We just have to get refocused, go back home and get ready for Thursday."
Boston also received a strong game from goaltender Jeff Hackett, who made 24 saves. He sat out the first two games of the series with a finger injury before returning in Game Three.
"We just have to go into the next game with a clear head again," Hackett said. "All we've really done is prolong the series and we have a long way to go. We'll go into Jersey and we'll give our best effort and see what happens."
Hackett helped set the tone in the first peroiod by making 14 saves as his team was outplayed virtually the entire 20 minutes. He came up big on a New Jersey power play just over five minutes into the contest, denying Scott Gomez and Joe Nieuwendyk from down low.
"He (Hackett) played well," Nieuwendyk said. "He made some big saves early on. I think that was the key. ... He kept them in there and then when they started to get a couple of goals, they were off and running."
On a 2-on-1, Hackett also turned aside John Madden's attempt from the bottom of the right faceoff circle with just over 13 minutes left.
Brodeur looked like he was on top of his game again as he kicked out his right pad to stop Mike Knuble's slap shot from the slot with just over eight minutes left. He also denied Sergei Samsonov's attempt from just to the left of the crease with 6:50 to go.
But with Turner Stevenson in the penalty box for holding, the Bruins struck on the power play with 13 seconds left in the first to grab the lead.
"The first period was a big period for this team," Thornton said. "To have a good first period ... you know we also had a good first period last game. But tonight, we weathered the storm for the first 10 (minutes), we got our feet moving and built confidence from that."
The NHL's third-leading scorer during the regular season, Thornton had struggled in the series while being shadowed by Madden and Pandolfo, two of the Devils' top checking forwards.
After getting outshot 14-6 in the opening 20 minutes, the Bruins garnered a 24-11 edge over the final two periods.
"I thought we came out in the first period and had a bunch of chances we didn't capitalize on," Madden said. "After that, it was all them."
Devils captain Scott Stevens was called for holding the stick 1:42 into the second period, and the Bruins needed just 42 seconds to cash in on the ensuing power play.
Brodeur again made an initial stop by denying Jozef Stumpel. But in the slot, McGillis unleased a quick shot that found its way through traffic and between Brodeur's pads, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
Although they have struggled offensively in the series, the Bruins have had success on the power play. They scored twice in five chances with the extra attacker in this one, improving to 5-for-15 in four games.
"I thought the power play worked all night," Thornton said. "We got our chances and scored two goals. It was clicking all night. We got good movement."
With just over 12 minutes left in the second, the Devils had a chance to come through with the man advantage. But on a breakaway, Jeff Friesen had the puck slide off his stick before he could get off a shot.
McGillis, acquired at the trade deadline from San Jose for a draft pick, scored his third goal of the series with 2:45 left in the second period, extending the lead to 3-0. He beat Brodeur with a wrist shot from the right circle to match his regular-season goal total.
"It was nice to come back not once, but twice on that caliber of goalie and put the team up," said McGillis, who also hit the goalpost in the third period. "But it's only one game, you know? We're gonna have to come back and do it again."
Niedermayer got the Devils on the board 1:37 into third period when his wrist shot from the right circle eluded Hackett. But just eight seconds later, the Bruins recaptured the momentum.
Lapointe skated into the right faceoff circle and surprised Brodeur with a wrist shot, giving the Bruins a 4-1 lead. It was Lapointe's first goal of the series.
McInnis also scored his first of the series at 3:37, ending Brodeur's night. The five goals matched the most surrendered by Brodeur in the playoffs since Game One of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals against Colorado.
"It's definitely disappointing not to have a better effort in your clinching game like that," Brodeur said. "But we had the luxury of (being) up 3-0, so now it's 3-1 and we've got to play better next game."
It also marked the second time this season Brodeur was yanked against the Bruins. In a March 12 game here, he was pulled in the second period after allowing three goals in a 5:15 span of a 4-3 loss.
New Jersey defenseman Ken Daneyko, who had played in all 166 the franchise's playoff games, had that streak end due to a rib injury.