HELSINKI -- The Florida Panthers are obviously excited to be part of the NHL Global Series in Finland this week, but they know why they're here.
"It's a business trip," coach Bob Boughner said at Hartwell Arena, where they will play the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday (2 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN3, NHL.TV) and Friday.
The Panthers had Monday off to explore and enjoy Finland's capital city, which Boughner wants for his players. But with one regulation/overtime win this season, Florida (2-4-3) needs to get on a bit of a roll. That's why it'll be important for the Panthers to be ready to work when they return to practice Tuesday.
"It breaks up the routine a little bit for us," Boughner said of the trip to Finland. "We've been in almost every game. Whether we've been leading or giving up a lead or coming back, overtimes and shootouts, it's been a wild start for us a little bit. We've only got two wins, and legitimately we could have four or five right now; we've played well enough.
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"I think there's still another level to our game. I think we're going to have to find that level against the Winnipeg Jets. This isn't a team I think you can feel your way around and not be ready to play when the puck drops. Hopefully playing a good team like this will make sure that we're on the top of our game. We want to come over here and get points out of these games. It's not just a fun trip for team bonding."
Winnipeg (7-4-1) has taken advantage of a schedule that has included seven home games (5-1-1). But with the Jets and forward Patrik Laine aiming to put on a show in front of his fellow Finnish fans, the Panthers know it will be a challenge.
"We'll definitely try to make the most of it," forward Nick Bjugstad said. "[But we have to] treat the games the same. It's going to be two tough games against Winnipeg. We can't overlook that … have a few fun days to explore and then get to business."
Boughner has valid reasons when he says he believes the Panthers can turn things around, considering eight of their first nine games have been decided by one goal. But they've scored more than three goals in three of those games, which leaves the coach with the task of finding ways to generate more offense, not to mention the balance of allowing his players to enjoy the unique surroundings while also realizing they're here for four points.
"We're a team that's played well at times and not so well at other times," Boughner said. "We need points and we have to come here with a serious outlook on things. Starting Game 1 [of this series], we want to try and make sure we don't leave here without anything. Have some fun, but it's about work."