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.
The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.
— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres