"It was only three games, but we wanted to win one to get it out of the way," Horton said. "It was a big game tonight, a big game for our confidence."
Martin Brodeur made 28 saves for the Devils, whose 1-3 start is their worst since the 2001-02 season. New Jersey's only victory came last Saturday when they defeated the Panthers 4-1.
"We've had trouble defensively, but today was not too bad," said Brodeur. "We didn't put the puck in the net tonight. If it's not something, it's the other."
"We're going to get it together somehow. Hopefully, it will come quicker than it's going right now."
New Jersey is opening the season on a nine-game road trip while construction is completed on its new arena.
"The guys are competing and playing hard," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "It's always tough to lose. Don't get me wrong, this losing is brutal. You've just got to deal with it."
Florida outshot New Jersey 31-29, the fourth time in four games the Panthers outshot their opponent.
Olesz opened the scoring at 14:48 of the first with a wrister that beat Brodeur low to the stick side.
The Panthers, who scored only four goals in their first three games, got two power-play goals in the second period to break open a 1-0 game.
Jokinen scored five seconds into a 5-on-3 when he one-timed a slap shot from the point. Horton made it 3-0 with 32.3 seconds left in the period when he grabbed a loose puck inside the faceoff circle and fired a wrist shot that just went under Brodeur s right arm.
"The first few games I don't think we were very good," Florida defenseman Mike Van Ryn said. "We've been building toward this. You know, baby steps."
Devils D Richard Matvichuk didn't make the trip with his teammates, a day after Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said the team would trade Matvichuk. ... D Branislav Mezei was a healthy scratch. ... Florida scored the first goal for the first time in four games this season. ... Martin coached in his 1,020th game, passing Pat Burns for ninth place on the NHL's career list.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: BB&T Center Location: Sunrise, Florida
Referees: Eric Furlatt, Dave Jackson Linesmen: David Brisebois, Shane Heyer
Attendance: 10,847 (56.3% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Rostislav Olesz (1)
Assists: Jozef Stumpel, Radek Dvorak
Olli Jokinen (1)
(Power Play) Assists: Cory Murphy, Jozef Stumpel
Nathan Horton (2)
(Power Play) Assists: Stephen Weiss, Cory Murphy