The Boston Bruins started the new year by getting back to what they did best in the old one -- winning.
Patrice Bergeron had a pair of goals Wednesday night as the defending Stanley Cup champs won their first game of 2012 by routing the New Jersey Devils 6-1 Wednesday night at the Prudential Center in Newark. David Krejci had a goal and an assist as the Bruins rebounded from a 4-2 loss at Dallas on Saturday and improved to 22-3-1 in their last 26 games.
With a 25-10-1 record and eight wins in their last nine games, the Bruins are second in the Eastern Conference with 51 points, one behind the New York Rangers, who have played one more game. The six goals scored by the Bruins were the most they've scored in a game in New Jersey since a 6-2 win on Dec. 29, 1988.
"That's the Stanley Cup champion," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "They're healthy. They're well-rested. That's the bar and that was a good lesson."
Tim Thomas stopped 30 shots while outplaying Martin Brodeur, who was beaten six times on 27 shots as the Devils (21-16-2) lost for the second time in three nights.
"It was a tighter game than the score indicates," Thomas said. "If Bergeron doesn't get that fourth goal, it might have ended up differently. They had some sneaky chances on me, but it was nice that we scored a few more times to make it look easier."
The Devils' record has been aided by eight shootout wins, and Brodeur said the loss was an indicator that New Jersey has plenty of work to do in order to enter the NHL's elite.
"They dictated the game. We got our butts kicked pretty good," Brodeur said. "We tried to match up against the best team in the League and we failed. But it's not the end of the world. We'll take this and get back to work. We always have the next day to work on what we know we did wrong."
The night started off well enough for the Devils, who grabbed a 1-0 lead just 4:24 into the game. With New Jersey on a power play, Zach Parise led a 2-on-1 break into the Boston zone and found David Clarkson racing into the slot. Parise made a perfect pass that Clarkson ripped past Thomas' glove at 4:24 for his 15th goal of the season.
But the Bruins needed less than four minutes to get even. Gregory Campbell tied it at 8:15 when he got a piece on Andrew Ference's blast from the point and deflected it past Brodeur for his fourth of the season. They went ahead to stay at 13:17 when Krejci controlled the puck in the lower right circle and slipped a pass across the crease to Nathan Horton, who got away from Parise and dunked the feed for a power-play goal.
"Sure it's disturbing. It was a tough night to stand there," coach Peter DeBoer said. "Not a lot of good things happened."
Bergeron, who excels at turning defense into offense, did just that when made it 3-1 at 4:02 of the second period. Bergeron blocked Adam Larsson's shot just as a New Jersey power play was ending, raced in alone and slid the puck along the ice off Brodeur's glove and into the net.
"It's something really important," Bergeron said. "You want to defend when someone is in a shooting zone, but to turn it into a goal and make them pay is a big turnaround. I want to be in those situations."
Bergeron and Krejci added goals less than three minutes apart early in the third period to put the game away. Shawn Thornton got his third of the season when he beat Brodeur from the high slot with 5:37 for the final margin.
"They really dictated the game, the way it was going to be played," Brodeur said. "It didn't look like we had any answer for them."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
1 - 0 NJD
1 - 1 Tie