Stephen Weiss scored just 23 seconds into the first period to give Florida the lead.
Devils defenseman Andy Greene was called for tripping Marcel Goc just 11 seconds after the opening faceoff. On the power play, Mikael Samuelsson's point shot deflected off of a mass of players in front of the net, and went right to the stick of Weiss. He fired a shot high into the net for his first goal of the postseason.
New Jersey, who set a record for penalty-killing efficiency this season, has allowed two power-play goals in the series.
Martin Brodeur stopped two of three shots against in the first period. Jose Theodore stopped all four shots he faced.
David Clarkson and Alexei Ponikarovsky were sent to the box, giving Florida a late 5-on-3 powerplay advantage. The Panthers will have 1:40 remaining of power play time to begin the second period.