Panthers ready for Blackhawks next

Updated: September 30, 2009, 5:52 PM ET
Associated Press

HELSINKI -- Dennis Seidenberg and Cory Stillman scored 29 seconds apart at the end of the first period, and the Florida Panthers wrapped up their preseason schedule by beating Finnish league club Jokerit 4-2 on Wednesday.

Stillman scored again, giving Florida a two-goal lead in the second period, and Michael Frolik pushed the advantage to 4-1.

Steve Reinprecht had two assists, centering the most productive line with Stillman and Frolik. Tomas Vokoun made 19 saves in the Panthers' final preseason game before they face the Chicago Blackhawks in a two-game series to start the NHL regular season Friday and Saturday in Helsinki.

Stillman recorded seven shots and was a plus-3.

"That group as a threesome hadn't had a kind of success during the preseason but tonight they clicked," Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said. "Hopefully, it's a sign for good things to come."

The Panthers are looking for leadership, too, now that longtime defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has moved on to the Calgary Flames. Stillman could pick up the slack.

"Right from the beginning of the summer, Cory came back and has taken a leadership role," DeBoer said. "He has done a lot of little things away from the rink and in the dressing room to fill that void. He has won two Stanley Cups and we dont have anybody else in the room who can say that."

Kari Sihvonen scored a second-period goal, and Ossi Saarinen added a tally in the third for Jokerit. Mikko Stromberg stopped 30 shots.

Florida played without top center Stephen Weiss, who was replaced by youngster Shawn Mathias on a line with wingers Nathan Horton and David Booth.

"With a little bit of luck, and Stephen Weiss back, we'll be as healthy as we can get," DeBoer said.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press