TAMPERE, Finland – Former Colorado winger Ville Nieminen scored to give Finnish league team Tappara a 3-2 shootout win over the Florida Panthers in NHL exhibition play Monday.
Nathan Horton and Mike Duco scored for the Panthers, who fired 50 shots at Tappara’s two goalies. Scott Clemmensen made 27 saves in the Florida goal.
“Their goalies played very well, they scored on a five on three and hung in there,” Panthers captain Bryan McCabe said. “It was fun and good for the fans, an exciting game.”
Florida’s Ville Koistinen, Steven Reinprecht and Michael Frolik were all stopped in the shootout.
Horton put the Panthers into the lead at 8:24 of the first period, scoring from the near post after being set up by Jordan Leopold and Bryan McCabe. Tappara replied almost immediately with a goal by Tomi Peltonen.
Duco made it 2-1 at 2:10 of the third but Jyri Junnila tied it up at 7:16, with Radek Dvorak after the Panthers had just survived a two-man disadvantage.
Tappara currently ranks sixth in the Finnish league.
Florida plays Finnish league club Jokerit in Helsinki on Wednesday before facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks in their NHL opener Friday.
“We have another game which will be a good test, but our main focus is getting the four points from the Chicago Blackhawks, to make a big start to the year,” said McCabe. “We surely want to get off the right foot.”
-With files from The Associated Press