EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Ken McRae scored his first two goals of the season and the Quebec Nordiques used a three-goal second period to beat the slumping New Jersey Devils 5-4 Thursday night.

The victory was the second in three nights for the Nordiques over the Devils, which have lost four of their last five games.

McRae, who was called up Jan. 16 from Halifax of the American Hockey League, took a pass from Marc Fortier and lifted the puck over Devils goaltender Bob Sauve's glove at 13:38 of the second period to break a 2-2 tie.

He scored his second goal at 16:28 of the third period on an off-balance shot to give the Nordiques a 5-3 lead.

The Devils held a 2-1 lead after the first period on goals by Doug Brown and Pat Verbeek.

Fortier gave the Nordiques a 1-0 lead 2:35 into the game by scoring a power-play goal on a slap shot from the blue line that beat Sauve low to the glove side.

Doug Brown tied the score when he deflected a shot from the point by Joe Cirella over the glove of Quebec goaltender Ron Tugnutt at 11:15.

Verbeek made it 2-1 at 16:29 when he scored a power-play goal on a deflection of a shot from the point by Jack O'Callahan.

Jeff Brown scored the Nordiques' second power play goal of the game, slapping the puck past a screened Sauve to tie the game at 11:16 of the second period.

After McRae put the Nordiques ahead, Peter Stastny scored his 19th goal of the season at 14:46 to finish the three-goal burst. He capitalized on a collision by two Devils to slip in front of the net unmolested.

Doug Brown scored his second goal of the game 1:51 into the third period, off an assist by Jim Korn. New Jersey closed the scoring at 19:00 on a power- play goal by Kirk Muller.

Quebec coach Jean Perron said his team changed its tactics from Tuesday, when Sean Burke was the Devils goalie in a 7-4 New Jersey loss.

''You have to shoot on Sauve,'' Perron said. ''On Sauve, you shoot from anywhere and it could be a scoring chance. With Burke, you have to create two- on-ones and create movement.''

Perron, who took over Dec. 17 after Ron Lapointe was diagnosed with a kidney problem, is now 4-7-4. He acknowledged things haven't been going as well as he had hoped, but said the victory should help.

''It's a confidence booster,'' Perron said. ''This club needs to get on track. Since I took over we've had a tough time.''

Muller said the loss should teach the Devils a lesson, but that it's time to start winning again.

''We've got to get everyone going,'' Muller said. ''It's a matter of everyone pulling together and fighting through this. We stopped skating tonight in the second period and we weren't going hard on the power play.

''They just capitalized,'' he said. ''It was a good lesson for us.''