After a scoreless first period, the Panthers jumped out to a 1-0 lead four minutes into the second period. It was all they would need to grab a 3-2 advantage in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
The Panthers won, 3-0, at the BankAtlantic Center. New Jersey faces elimination in Game 6 at the Rock on Tuesday.
Kris Versteeg scored that game-winner on the power play at the four-minute mark for his second goal of the playoffs. He was assisted by Stephen Weiss and Brian Campbell.
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Scottie Upshall scored the second goal of the game 13:17 mark of the third. Tomas Kopecky was awarded the final goal at 19:26 when he was hooked going in for a breakaway, emtpy-net score.
Martin Brodeur, who was so good in Game 4 in setting the career playoff shutout record, made 30 saves. He was outplayed by Jose Theodore, who earned the shutout with 30 saves.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.