The Devils forced Panthers coach Kevin Dineen to pull starter Jose Theodore just 6:16 into the first after the veteran netminder allowed three goals on six shots.
The Panthers, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit to open a 4-3 lead through two periods, chased New Jersey starter Martin Brodeur in favor of Johan Hedberg 2:18 into the second after the future Hall of Fame goalie yielded three goals on 12 shots.
The last time Brodeur was pulled from playoff game was in a 6-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the 2006 conference semifinal round.
It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.
— Sabres forward Tyler Ennis on the progress of Buffalo's rebuilding process