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Florida
Panthers
32-37-13
Chicago
Blackhawks
52-22-8

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game recap

Panthers 4, Blackhawks 3, SO

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:48 AM

Associated Press

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Panthers 4, Blackhawks 3, SO
Florida Panthers 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3

HELSINKI (AP) -Ville Koistinen provided a fitting end to the first regular-season NHL game ever played in Finland.

The Finish defender scored the winning goal in the shootout, lifting the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday in their season opener.

Koistinen also scored in regulation, but it was his backhander in the shootout that brought 12,056 fans in Hartwall Arena to their feet - where they stayed after Tomas Vokoun stopped Patrick Sharp on the final shot of the shootout.

"I was not really sure that the puck was in," Koistinen said. "I looked at the referee, and he acknowledged it. This is quite unbelievable, to do this in a game before a home crowd in my home country."

Steven Reinprecht also connected in the shootout for Florida.

The 27-year-old Koistinen is basically a defenseman who played for Nashville last season. He was a forward in this game, a surprise lineup move by Florida coach Peter DeBoer.

Last year, the Panthers' race for a play-off spot was thwarted by ineptness in overtime and shootouts. It also lost many games after the second period.

"The shootouts are a big part of the NHL today," Vokoun said. "Last year we did badly in them, but hopefully our results are better this year."

The Czech goalie finished with 55 saves, while the Blackhawks' Christobal Huet had 24.

Chicago's Patrick Kane scored the first NHL goal on Finnish soil and assisted on another, while Jonathan Toews scored in the shootout as the first man out.

Sharp had scored at 11:36 of the third period for a 3-2 Chicago edge, but David Booth fired in a high shot with 2:21 remaining to make it 3-3.

The Panthers, who before the game promoted Randy Sexton to general manager, came back three times from one-goal deficits to force overtime. Dustin Byfuglien and Koistinen had scored the first goals in the period.

Fresh from the penalty box, Kane scored the first goal after receiving a pinpoint long pass from Niklas Hjalmarsson. He accelerated before feinting Vokoun and finishing with a backhander 5:19 into the second period.

Michael Frolik tied it on a perfect pass across the crease by Reinprecht.

Chicago regained the lead early in the third period thanks to Byfuglien during a goalmouth scramble, and a shot by Koistinen drew Florida even again.

"We played a very good first period. Maybe we moved the puck a little bit too much, but our goalkeeper gave us the chance to win," veteran defenseman Bryan McCabe said.

Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell said the Blackhawks' preparation for their opener in Helsinki was not ideal, after playing on a larger rink during exhibition games.

"We played in an Olympic-size rink in Switzerland, and this now felt narrow even if we have played in smaller rinks our whole lives," Campbell said. "Maybe traveling took something from us. Florida possibly had an advantage as they had been in Finland longer."

scoring summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
05:19
CHI
Patrick Kane (1) ASST: Niklas Hjalmarsson (1)
1 - 0 CHI
13:01
FLA
Michael Frolik (1) ASST: Steve Reinprecht (1), Dennis Seidenberg (1)
1 - 1 Tie
3rd Period
03:52
CHI
Dustin Byfuglien (1) ASST: Patrick Kane (1), Brent Seabrook (1)
2 - 1 CHI
07:29
FLA
Ville Koistinen (1) ASST: Cory Stillman (1), Michael Frolik (1)
2 - 2 Tie
11:36
CHI
Patrick Sharp (1) ASST: Kris Versteeg (1), Brian Campbell (1)
3 - 2 CHI
17:39
FLA
David Booth (1) ASST: Keith Ballard (1)
3 - 3 Tie
OT Period
NONE
Shootout
RNDCHIFLA
1J. ToewsS. Reinprecht
2P. KaneV. Koistinen
3P. Sharp
penalty summary
1st Period
15:08
CHI
Troy Brouwer  Tripping against  David Booth
2nd Period
01:53
FLA
Bryan McCabe  Cross checking against  Dave Bolland
03:10
CHI
Patrick Kane  Hi-sticking against  Jordan Leopold
19:19
FLA
Radek Dvorak  Hooking against  Niklas Hjalmarsson
3rd Period
06:00
FLA
Bryan Allen  Holding against  Andrew Ladd
06:50
CHI
Andrew Ladd  Too many men/ice - bench
OT Period
NONE
goalie stats
Tomas Vokoun
Tomas Vokoun
SA: 55TOI: 65:00
Saves: 52EV: 45 - 48
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .945SH: 2 - 2
Cristobal Huet
SA: 24TOI: 64:51
Saves: 21EV: 17 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: .875SH: 0 - 0