By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com — After delivering a knockout punch to top-seed Boston, and now up 3-0 on two-seed Toronto in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the upstart Florida Panthers have won 6 straight playoff games.
With it, hundreds of rats were tossed from the rafters following Sunday’s 3-2 OT win against the Maple Leafs.
It’s a tradition started when the Panthers made the playoffs in 1998 for the first time in their franchise history.
On the night of the Panthers’ 1995–96 home opener, a rat scurried across the team’s locker room in the old Miami Arena. Scott Mellanby reacted by “one-timing” the rat against the wall, killing it. That night, Mellanby scored two goals, which goalie John Vanbiesbrouck quipped was “a rat trick.” Two nights later, as the story found its way into the world, a few fans threw rubber rats on the ice in celebration of a goal. The rubber rat count went from 16 for the third home game to over 2,000 during the playoffs.
And the rest is history.