By HOWARD ULMAN
The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 22, 2011; 9:39 PM
BOSTON -- Zdeno Chara broke a tie midway through the second period and Milan Lucic scored his 30th goal of the season late in the third as the Boston Bruins beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Tuesday night.
The Devils, who committed one penalty in their previous two games, were called for five in the first two periods, and the Bruins' struggling power-play unit finally came through. Boston had scored just twice on its previous 34 power-play opportunities entering the game.
New Jersey took a 1-0 lead on Ilya Kovalchuk's 27th goal at 11:05 of the first period. Shawn Thornton tied it less than six minutes later.
Boston won for just the second time in eight games after winning seven straight. New Jersey is 1-3 after going 23-3-2 in its previous 28 games.
Lucic sealed the victory at 16:13 of the final period on a 15-footer from the left circle. Chara started the play with a shot from the right point that goalie Martin Brodeur deflected to his right. Patrice Bergeron came up with the puck and passed to Lucic, whose quick shot beat Brodeur. Lucic is the Bruins' first 30-goal scorer since Phil Kessel scored 36 in 2008-09.
Mark Recchi finished the scoring with an empty-net goal with 40 seconds left.
The Bruins improved their Northeast Division-leading points total to 90 with 10 games left, including seven at home. Despite their improved play since Jacques Lemaire replaced John MacLean as coach on Dec. 23, the Devils have little chance to make the playoffs.
The Devils took a 1-0 lead on Kovalchuk's power-play goal. Jacob Josefon passed the puck from behind the net to a wide open Kovalchuk, who fired a 20-footer past Tim Thomas.
That gave the Devils a 14-1 lead in shots and the difference was 16-6 after one period. But Boston became more aggressive in the second period, outshooting New Jersey 17-8.
The Bruins tied it at 15:39 of the first period on Shawn Thornton's career-best ninth goal. Dennis Seidenberg took a rising shot from the right point into a crowd of Thornton and New Jersey's Andy Greene and Anssi Salmela in front of the net. The puck nicked Thornton and went over Brodeur's right shoulder.
Chara gave Boston the lead for good at 8:17 of the second period just 9 seconds after Nick Palmieri was penalized for tripping. The Bruins won the faceoff, Tomas Kaberle got the puck and passed to Lucic, who passed the puck from the right side to the left circle where Chara controlled it and put in his 13th goal.
Notes: Brodeur made his 12th straight start since returning from a knee injury. ... Kovalchuk scored just 11 seconds after Recchi was penalized for hooking. ... Chara's goal was his 400th career point. ... The Bruins streak of 19 games without being shut out is their longest of the season.