PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference quarterfinal; Devils lead 2-0.
Facing the prospect of an all-but insurmountable three-games-to-none hole, the Bruins hope a return to home ice in Game 3 can help can get them back into the series.
The Devils became the only team in this year’s postseason to win their first two games at home with a 4-2 victory Friday.
Jamie Langenbrunner broke a third-period tie and set up two other goals for New Jersey, which has never lost a playoff series after winning the first two games. Boston, meanwhile, has never won a series after losing the first two contests.
Clearly, Langenbrunner has been the best player in this series. He has had a hand in five of his team’s six scores, with three goals and two assists.
“Mentally more than anything, I feel very comfortable on this team,” Langenbrunner said. “When you come in late, I think you’re still trying to find your niche. I’m getting a great opportunity to play important roles. I’m enjoying it.”
Goaltending was the focus before this series began, with the Devils figuring to have a huge advantage with Martin Brodeur. While Brodeur has played well, stopping 50 of 53 shots, he has not needed to be spectacular because of the Devils’ solid defense.
Steve Shields hasn’t played badly in two starts for Boston, but he could be replaced by Jeff Hackett for Game 3. Hackett, who has been sidelined since March 15 with a broken finger, dressed as Shields’ backup for Game 2.
To win this series, Boston would need to take four of five games. They haven’t won four times in fewer than six playoff games since taking four straight from Montreal in the second round in 1992.
“We’ve got to focus on the next game, that’s all we can do,” Bruins coach Mike O’Connell said. “I’m not happy. We are down 2-0, so how can I be happy? We did some good things, some bad things, but we lost, and that makes it pretty hard to be happy.”
Game 4 is Tuesday in Boston.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Devils - 108 points; 2nd seed. Bruins - 87 points; 7th seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Langenbrunner, 3 goals and 5 points; five with 2 assists; Scott Niedermayer, 8 PIM. Bruins - Three with 1 goal; Joe Thornton, 2 assists; Glen Murray and Thornton, 2 points; Martin Lapointe, 8 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Devils - Power play: 20.0 percent (2 for 10). Penalty killing: 85.7 percent (6 for 7). Bruins - Power play: 14.2 percent (1 for 7). Penalty killing: 80.0 percent (8 for 10).
GOALTENDERS: Devils - Brodeur (2-0, 1.50 GAA); Corey Schwab (no appearances). Bruins - Shields (0-2, 3.03); Hackett (no appearances).
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Devils, 2-1-1. Brodeur was outstanding in three of four starts against the Bruins, stopping 85 of 88 shots in two wins and one tie. He was pulled in a 4-3 loss at Boston on March 13 after yielding four goals on 20 shots.