On Friday night, the New Jersey Devils headed into enemy territory as they visited the Florida Panthers in the first game of their postseason series against one another. The Panthers, despite being a higher seed, entered the game as big underdogs and were hoping to prove that their division title was no fluke. Florida wanted to take a 1-0 lead in this best-of-seven series on their home ice, but the Devils took an early lead and were able to hang on for the 3-2 win.
The Devils scored three unanswered goals in the first period, on shots by Patrik Elias, Dainius Zubrus and Ryan Carter. The Panthers bounced back with second-period goals by Sean Bergenheim and Kris Versteeg.
The third period was just as furious and intense as the second had been. Neither team was willing to give an inch throughout the period, with exemplary work by both goalies. The Panthers attempted the empty net play in the final minute, but were unable to get a shot to go past Martin Brodeur.