Back in the playoffs after a one-year hiatus, the Devils scored three goals during a record-setting first period, and Martin Brodeur made it stand up in a 3-2 win over Florida, as New Jersey spoiled the Panthers' return to the postseason.
Patrik Elias, Ryan Carter and Danius Zubrus scored for the Devils, who set a playoff franchise-record with 26 shots on goal in the first period, when the team took a commanding 3-0 lead in the opener of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Brodeur made 24 saves and became the second goaltender in NHL history to record 100 playoff wins, joining Patrick Roy (151). Brodeur gave up second- period goals to Sean Bergenheim and Kris Versteeg, but then stopped all six shots he faced in the third for the sixth-seeded Devils.
Jose Theodore made 35 stops for the third-seeded Panthers, champions of the Southeast Division. The Panthers are in the postseason for the first time since 2000.
The best-of-seven series resumes Sunday night, again at BankAtlantic Center.