First blood to Carolina in NHL opener in Helsinki
The first of two season-opening NHL games played in Helsinki resulted in a 4-3 win for the Carolina Hurricanes over Minnesota Wild.
The largely Finnish crowd of 12,355 in the Hartwall Arena got what they came for in the shape of a goal from Carolina's Jussi Jokinen (1+1 for the match) and an assist from teammate Joni Pitkänen.
On the Minnesota side, goalie Niklas Backström saved 27 of the 31 shots aimed in his direction, and Wild captain Mikko Koivu and winger Anssi Miettinen both picked up assists.
Carolina center Tuomo Ruutu, the only one of the six Finns who could legitimately claim to have been playing "on home ice", did not get on the scoresheet, despite having a number of shots on goal.
Carolina thus had the honour of heading the NHL, albeit very briefly, as the league also got under way with four matches in North America last night.
The only small fly in the ointment in an otherwise successful launch for the NHL in Finland was that matches in the local SM-Liiga also went ahead.
Both Helsinki HIFK and Espoo Blues had home games on Thursday evening, and there were some empty seats in the Hartwall Arena (capacity 13,349) as a result.
Friday's game is a sellout.
The second Helsinki game will be played in the Hartwall Arena tonight from 19:00.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Mikko Koivu and Minnesota Wild start their NHL season in Helsinki (6.10.2010)
Ruutu returns to familiar ice (7.10.2010)
NHL: Finnish talent shines as NHL returns to Helsinki