The Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets are participating in the 2018 NHL Global Series. They will play back-to-back games at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland, on Thursday (2 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN3, NHL.TV) and Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN3, FS-F, NHL.TV).
Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad will detail his experiences on the trip in his own NHL.com blog. Here is Bjugstad's first entry:
We headed to JFK Airport in New York for our trip to Finland right after our game against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. It was a little different, because that was our night's rest. You had to try to find a few hours of sleep. I probably got three or four in, so the flight went by pretty fast.
It's always more fun getting on plane after a win. It was a disappointing loss. We're fighting for wins right now. It's tough coming up with no points there. We've got to keep going and keep moving. We're going to spend a lot of time together here, so I think it'll be good for our room to just kind of be together. It's not the easiest time right now, but I think our team can get through it and have a few good games here.
We headed right to Hartwall Arena and skated on their practice rink just to get our legs moving. I think the guys liked getting a sweat in. I didn't feel too bad. I talked to a few guys and they all said the same thing. It feels pretty good right now, but we might hit a wall later.
I don't think it will be too hard to adjust here. Obviously we're only here for about five days, so you've got to try to get acclimated as fast as possible. But the flight was good. We were all in the same area of the plane. Guys watched movies, some guys played cards. I was trying to sleep, but it was good.
These are regular-season games. It's the same intensity, the same preparation. It's got to be treated like it's a game back home. Obviously, Winnipeg is a top-tier team in the League. We'll have to look at that matchup and look at some video and see what they have going. We only play two times a year, so it's good to size up and see how we do.
You can tell our captain, Aleksander Barkov, is excited. He doesn't get overly energetic about much, but you can tell by the smile on his face that it's going to be pretty cool for him to play in front of family and friends. I don't think when you make the NHL that you expect as a European to play over here. I think for him and Juho Lammikko, it's going to be a pretty cool experience. It's a very rich hockey community here. It'll be fun playing in front of these fans.
We have a day off here on Monday. I don't know what we're going to do yet; I'm sure we'll all chat today and figure out what we're going to do. We'll have to talk to our Finns, Juho and Barkov, to find out what there is to do. I actually was here six years ago for the IIHF World Championship, so I'm kind of familiar with the city. Maybe a few guys will head over to Estonia; I hear that's beautiful. I'm sure there's great food too in the city, so we'll find something to do.