April 13, 2012; Sunrise, FL, USA; A dejected Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore (60) reacts after surrendering a goal to the New Jersey Devils in game one of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarter finals at BankAtlantic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
After missing the playoffs for 10 consecutive seasons, the Florida Panthers finally hosted one being the top seed. Unfortunately for them it would start off extremely ugly. Just 6:31 into the game, Patrick Elias would wait out the entire Panthers team to score a beauty giving the Devils an early 1 goal lead. At 14:11 on the powerplay Dainius Zubrus would give the Devils a 2-0 lead. Under a minute later Ryan Carter would get the third unanswered Devils goals, quieting the home crowd and making the Panthers playoff return look less than impressive.
However, Florida would make things interesting in the second, receiving goals from Sean Bergenheim and Kris Versteeg. Down by a single goal heading into the third, many thought the Panthers might be able to pull off an incredible comeback. The Devils would have none of it, going into their defensive shell and limiting the Panthers to only 6 shots in the 3rd to hold on for the 3-2 win and a 1-0 lead in the series.