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Sept.
11

The Panthers’ third annual training camp opens as 72 players report to Greensboro, North Carolina.


Oct.
7

The Panthers open the 1995-96 regular season against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the New Jersey Devils, falling 4-0.


Oct.
8

Scott Mellanby scores two goals and kills a rat in the Panthers’ dressing room prior to the team’s 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Mellanby’s feat is dubbed a “Rat Trick” by John Vanbiesbrouck, and within weeks, fans begin tossing rats onto the ice to celebrate Florida goals.


Oct.
12

Florida signs franchise goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck to a contract extension.


Nov.
14
The Panthers score four third-period goals and John Vanbiesbrouck makes 26 saves as the Cats win their seventh straight game (Nov 2-Nov 14). The longest winning streak of the season, the winning streak was snapped, but the points streak would go on for one more game with a 2-2 tie on Nov. 16 against Vancouver.

Jan.
20

Coach Doug MacLean leads the Panthers to the best record in the Eastern Conference and earns the right to coach in the All-Star Game. MacLean is joined in Boston by John Vanbiesbrouck and Scott Mellanby.


Jan.
23

Johan Garpenlov records the first hat trick in Panthers' history with :56 left in the third period to defeat the Washington Capitals 5-4. Mark Fitzpatrick makes 31 saves and the Panthers score four of the five goals on the power-play, the most power-play goals ever scored in one game by the Panthers up to that point. (Most now is five: against NY Rangers on 10/25/96 and against Ottawa on 12/9/98)


Mar.
16

The Cats acquire Ray Sheppard and fourth round draft pick in 1996 from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for the Panthers' second and fourth picks in 1996.


Apr.
14

Defeating the NY Rangers 5-1 in the final game of the regular season, the Panthers conclude the 1995-96 season with '92 points (41-31-10) and a fourth place finish in the Eastern Conference. The team qualifies for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in franchise history and host the Boston Bruins in the first round.



Apr.
17

Before a packed house at Miami Arena, the Panthers defeat the Boston Bruins, 6-3, in their first-ever playoff game.


Apr.
27

In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Boston, Bill Lindsay scores a spectacular goal with 4:57 left in the third period to break a 3-3 tie and give the Panthers their first-ever playoff series victory.


May
12

In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers, Mike Hough scores in double OT to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead in the series. Florida eliminates the Flyers two days later in Miami.


June
1

The Panthers go on the road and defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-1, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to win the Prince of Wales Trophy as champions of the conference. They fly to Colorado after the game to begin preparations for the Stanley Cup Finals.


June
10

The Panthers and Colorado Avalanche play one of the classic games in Stanley Cup Finals history. The match remains scoreless until Colorado’s Uwe Krupp connects at 4:31 of the third OT period to give the Avalanche the victory and its first-ever Stanley Cup title.


June
12

A capacity crowd fills Miami Arena to thank the Panthers for a wonderful season. The highlight of the evening occurs when Ed Jovanovski and Rhett Warrener dump a bucket of water over the head of coach Doug MacLean.


 
     

February 19th, 2006 officially marks the beginning of the Year Of The Rat., For Panthers fans, they have been celebrating The Year Of The Rat long before that thanks to Scott Mellanby on October 8th, 2005.
 
PRINCE OF WALES TROPHY
1995-96 SEASON
1996 POST-SEASON
MIAMI ARENA
 
   
 
 
     
 
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