Nathan Horton and Mike Duco in regulation for Florida, but the Panthers lost 3-2 to Finnish team Tappara after a penalty shootout.
Former Colorado Avalanche player Ville Nieminen scored the only goal in the shootout.
The Panthers nearly doubled Tappara's shots, putting 50 on goalies Harri Sateri and Mika Lehto. Florida's Scott Clemmensen made 27 saves.
"Their goalies played very well, they scored on a five on three and hung in there. It was fun and good for the fans, an exciting game," Panthers captain Bryan McCabe said.
"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. We surely want to get off the right foot", McCabe said.
Duco's goal early in the third period put Florida ahead 2-1, but Tappara's Jyri Junnila tied the game during a two-man advantage at 7:16.
In the first period, Tomi Peltonen scored a tying goal at 8:58, 34 seconds after Horton's goal.
Florida's Ville Koistinen, from Tampere, along with Michael Frolik and Steven Reinprecht, all missed in the shootout.
The Panthers got a taste of the bigger European rink against the home team, ranked sixth in the Finnish League.
On Thursday, the Panthers will play club Jokerit in Helsinki. They'll face off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL opener on Saturday.