1995–96 Florida Panthers · NHL
Eastern Conference Champions
Division 3rd Atlantic
Conference 4th Eastern
1995–96 record 41–31–10
Home record 25–12–4
Road record 16–19–6
Goals for 254
Goals against 234
General Manager Bryan Murray
Coach Doug MacLean
Captain Brian Skrudland
Alternate captains Scott Mellanby
Gord Murphy
Arena Miami Arena
Team Leaders
Goals Scott Mellanby (32)
Assists Scott Mellanby (38)
Points Scott Mellanby (70)
Penalties in minutes Paul Laus (236)
Wins John Vanbiesbrouck (26)
Goals against average John Vanbiesbrouck (2.68)
← Seasons →

The 1995–96 Florida Panthers season was their most successful season ever. In only their third season in the National Hockey League, the Panthers qualified for the playoffs, and won three playoff series to become Eastern Conference champions. In the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals, they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in four games.

Offseason[edit | edit source]

NHL draft[edit | edit source]

Round Pick Player Nationality College/junior/club team
1 10 Radek Dvorak (RW) Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic HC České Budějovice (Czech)

Regular season[edit | edit source]

Year of the Rat[edit | edit source]

A very unusual goal celebration developed in Miami. On the night of the Panthers' '95–'96 home opener, a rat scurried across the Florida locker room. Mellanby reacted by "one-timing" the rat against the wall, killing it [1]. That night he scored two goals, which 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. In a freak coincidence, 1996 was also year of the rat according to Chinese Astrology.

In the 1996 playoffs, as the #4 seed, the Panthers beat the Boston Bruins in 5 games, then upset the top seeded Philadelphia Flyers in six, and then the second seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in seven to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Their opponents, the Colorado Avalanche, swept the Panthers in four games.

Final standings[edit | edit source]

Atlantic Division
GP W L T GF GA Pts
Philadelphia Flyers 82 45 24 13 282 208 103
New York Rangers 82 41 27 14 272 237 96
Florida Panthers 82 41 31 10 254 234 92
Washington Capitals 82 39 32 11 234 204 89
Tampa Bay Lightning 82 38 32 12 238 248 88
New Jersey Devils 82 37 33 12 215 202 86
New York Islanders 82 22 50 10 229 315 54

Game log[edit | edit source]

No. R Date Score Opponent Record
1 L October 7, 1995 0–4 @ New Jersey Devils (1995–96) 0–1–0
2 W October 8, 1995 4–3 Calgary Flames (1995–96) 1–1–0
3 W October 11, 1995 6–1 Montreal Canadiens (1995–96) 2–1–0
4 W October 13, 1995 6–2 Ottawa Senators (1995–96) 3–1–0
5 W October 15, 1995 5–3 New York Islanders (1995–96) 4–1–0
6 L October 17, 1995 3–6 Chicago Blackhawks (1995–96) 4–2–0
7 W October 21, 1995 3–0 Hartford Whalers (1995–96) 5–2–0
8 W October 24, 1995 6–1 @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1995–96) 6–2–0
9 L October 25, 1995 2–7 @ Montreal Canadiens (1995–96) 6–3–0
10 W October 28, 1995 4–1 @ Ottawa Senators (1995–96) 7–3–0
11 L October 31, 1995 4–5 OT New York Islanders (1995–96) 7–4–0
12 W November 2, 1995 2–1 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1995–96) 8–4–0
13 W November 3, 1995 3–2 @ Washington Capitals (1995–96) 9–4–0
14 W November 5, 1995 4–1 Tampa Bay Lightning (1995–96) 10–4–0
15 W November 7, 1995 4–2 Philadelphia Flyers (1995–96) 11–4–0
16 W November 9, 1995 2–1 Edmonton Oilers (1995–96) 12–4–0
17 W November 11, 1995 4–1 Buffalo Sabres (1995–96) 13–4–0
18 W November 14, 1995 5–2 Toronto Maple Leafs (1995–96) 14–4–0
19 T November 16, 1995 2–2 OT Vancouver Canucks (1995–96) 14–4–1
20 L November 18, 1995 2–3 @ Los Angeles Kings (1995–96) 14–5–1
21 W November 19, 1995 4–3 @ Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1995–96) 15–5–1
22 W November 21, 1995 4–3 New Jersey Devils (1995–96) 16–5–1
23 W November 26, 1995 5–1 Los Angeles Kings (1995–96) 17–5–1
24 L November 29, 1995 1–2 OT Philadelphia Flyers (1995–96) 17–6–1
25 L December 1, 1995 1–2 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1995–96) 17–7–1
26 W December 2, 1995 5–3 @ Hartford Whalers (1995–96) 18–7–1
27 W December 5, 1995 4–3 @ Washington Capitals (1995–96) 19–7–1
28 T December 7, 1995 3–3 OT Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1995–96) 19–7–2
29 W December 9, 1995 3–1 Boston Bruins (1995–96) 20–7–2
30 W December 11, 1995 2–1 @ New Jersey Devils (1995–96) 21–7–2
31 W December 12, 1995 3–1 @ New York Islanders (1995–96) 22–7–2
32 L December 14, 1995 4–6 @ Boston Bruins (1995–96) 22–8–2
33 W December 16, 1995 7–2 @ Tampa Bay Lightning (1995–96) 23–8–2
34 W December 21, 1995 6–1 Winnipeg Jets (1995–96) 24–8–2
35 W December 23, 1995 2–1 New Jersey Devils (1995–96) 25–8–2
36 L December 28, 1995 4–5 Washington Capitals (1995–96) 25–9–2
37 L December 30, 1995 5–6 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1995–96) 25–10–2
38 L January 3, 1996 2–7 @ Vancouver Canucks (1995–96) 25–11–2
39 W January 5, 1996 3–2 @ Edmonton Oilers (1995–96) 26–11–2
40 L January 6, 1996 0–2 @ Calgary Flames (1995–96) 26–12–2
41 W January 8, 1996 5–2 @ San Jose Sharks (1995–96) 27–12–2
42 T January 10, 1996 4–4 OT @ Colorado Avalanche (1995–96) 27–12–3
43 T January 12, 1996 6–6 OT @ Dallas Stars (1995–96) 27–12–4
44 W January 16, 1996 4–1 San Jose Sharks (1995–96) 28–12–4
45 T January 22, 1996 1–1 OT @ Philadelphia Flyers (1995–96) 28–12–5
46 W January 23, 1996 5–4 @ Washington Capitals (1995–96) 29–12–5
47 L January 25, 1996 2–6 Montreal Canadiens (1995–96) 29–13–5
48 W January 27, 1996 6–3 Buffalo Sabres (1995–96) 30–13–5
49 W January 29, 1996 2–1 Pittsburgh Penguins (1995–96) 31–13–5
50 L January 31, 1996 1–6 @ Buffalo Sabres (1995–96) 31–14–5
51 T February 1, 1996 2–2 OT @ Boston Bruins (1995–96) 31–14–6
52 W February 3, 1996 5–3 @ Tampa Bay Lightning (1995–96) 32–14–6
53 L February 6, 1996 2–4 @ Detroit Red Wings (1995–96) 32–15–6
54 W February 8, 1996 3–1 Detroit Red Wings (1995–96) 33–15–6
55 T February 11, 1996 2–2 OT St. Louis Blues (1995–96) 33–15–7
56 L February 14, 1996 2–4 Philadelphia Flyers (1995–96) 33–16–7
57 L February 16, 1996 4–5 OT Colorado Avalanche (1995–96) 33–17–7
58 W February 18, 1996 6–4 Dallas Stars (1995–96) 34–17–7
59 W February 21, 1996 4–1 @ New Jersey Devils (1995–96) 35–17–7
60 L February 24, 1996 0–4 New York Rangers (1995–96) 35–18–7
61 L February 25, 1996 1–6 @ Buffalo Sabres (1995–96) 35–19–7
62 T February 29, 1996 2–2 OT Washington Capitals (1995–96) 35–19–8
63 L March 2, 1996 1–7 @ Hartford Whalers (1995–96) 35–20–8
64 L March 5, 1996 0–2 @ St. Louis Blues (1995–96) 35–21–8
65 L March 7, 1996 3–5 @ Winnipeg Jets (1995–96) 35–22–8
66 L March 10, 1996 1–4 Boston Bruins (1995–96) 35–23–8
67 L March 11, 1996 4–8 @ Chicago Blackhawks (1995–96) 35–24–8
68 T March 13, 1996 3–3 OT @ New York Rangers (1995–96) 35–24–9
69 W March 17, 1996 3–0 New Jersey Devils (1995–96) 36–24–9
70 W March 19, 1996 5–2 Ottawa Senators (1995–96) 37–24–9
71 W March 21, 1996 3–2 New York Islanders (1995–96) 38–24–9
72 L March 23, 1996 2–4 @ Tampa Bay Lightning (1995–96) 38–25–9
73 L March 27, 1996 0–3 @ New York Rangers (1995–96) 38–26–9
74 L March 28, 1996 2–3 Pittsburgh Penguins (1995–96) 38–27–9
75 L March 30, 1996 1–2 Tampa Bay Lightning (1995–96) 38–28–9
76 W April 1, 1996 3–2 Hartford Whalers (1995–96) 39–28–9
77 L April 3, 1996 2–3 @ Ottawa Senators (1995–96) 39–29–9
78 L April 6, 1996 1–2 @ Montreal Canadiens (1995–96) 39–30–9
79 W April 8, 1996 5–3 @ New York Rangers (1995–96) 40–30–9
80 L April 10, 1996 1–2 Tampa Bay Lightning (1995–96) 40–31–9
81 T April 12, 1996 1–1 OT @ New York Islanders (1995–96) 40–31–10
82 W April 14, 1996 5–1 New York Rangers (1995–96) 41–31–10

Player stats[edit | edit source]

Regular season
Scoring
Player Pos GP G A Pts PIM +/- PPG SHG GWG
Mellanby, ScottScott Mellanby RW 79 32 38 70 160 4 19 0 3
Niedermayer, RobRob Niedermayer C 82 26 35 61 107 1 11 0 6
Svehla, RobertRobert Svehla D 81 8 49 57 94 -3 7 0 0
Garpenlov, JohanJohan Garpenlov LW 82 23 28 51 36 -10 8 0 7
Barnes, StuStu Barnes C 72 19 25 44 46 -12 8 0 5
Belanger, JesseJesse Belanger C 63 17 21 38 10 -5 7 0 1
Hull, JodyJody Hull RW 78 20 17 37 25 5 2 0 3
Fitzgerald, TomTom Fitzgerald RW 82 13 21 34 75 -3 1 6 2
Lindsay, BillBill Lindsay RW 73 12 22 34 57 13 0 3 2
Woolley, JasonJason Woolley D 52 6 28 34 32 -9 3 0 0
Murphy, GordGord Murphy D 70 8 22 30 30 5 4 0 0
Dvorak, RadekRadek Dvorak RW 77 13 14 27 20 5 0 0 4
Skrudland, BrianBrian Skrudland C 79 7 20 27 129 6 0 1 1
Lowry, DaveDave Lowry LW 63 10 14 24 36 -2 0 0 1
Hough, MikeMike Hough LW 64 7 16 23 37 4 0 1 1
Jovanovski, EdEd Jovanovski D 70 10 11 21 137 -3 2 0 2
Carkner, TerryTerry Carkner D 73 3 10 13 80 10 1 0 0
Svensson, MagnusMagnus Svensson D 27 2 9 11 21 -1 2 0 1
Sheppard, RayRay Sheppard RW 14 8 2 10 4 0 2 0 2
Smith, GeoffGeoff Smith D 31 3 7 10 20 -4 2 0 0
Laus, PaulPaul Laus D 78 3 6 9 236 -2 0 0 0
Straka, MartinMartin Straka C 12 2 4 6 6 1 1 0 0
Dionne, GilbertGilbert Dionne LW 5 1 2 3 0 0 0 0 0
Harkins, BrettBrett Harkins LW 8 0 3 3 6 -2 0 0 0
Warrener, RhettRhett Warrener D 28 0 3 3 46 4 0 0 0
Smyth, BradBrad Smyth RW 7 1 1 2 4 -3 1 0 0
Nemirovsky, DavidDavid Nemirovsky RW 9 0 2 2 2 -1 0 0 0
Vanbiesbrouck, JohnJohn Vanbiesbrouck G 57 0 2 2 10 0 0 0 0
Kudelski, BobBob Kudelski RW 13 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0
Washburn, SteveSteve Washburn C 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0
Casselman, MikeMike Casselman C 3 0 0 0 0 -1 0 0 0
Fitzpatrick, MarkMark Fitzpatrick G 34 0 0 0 12 0 0 0 0
Goaltending
Player MIN GP W L T GA GAA SO SA SV SV%
Vanbiesbrouck, JohnJohn Vanbiesbrouck 3178 57 26 20 7 142 2.68 2 1473 1331 .904
Fitzpatrick, MarkMark Fitzpatrick 1786 34 15 11 3 88 2.96 0 810 722 .891
Team: 4964 82 41 31 10 230 2.78 2 2283 2053 .899
Playoffs
Scoring
Player Pos GP G A Pts PIM +/- PPG SHG GWG
Lowry, DaveDave Lowry LW 22 10 7 17 39 8 4 0 2
Sheppard, RayRay Sheppard RW 21 8 8 16 4 4 3 0 0
Barnes, StuStu Barnes C 22 6 10 16 4 10 2 0 2
Lindsay, BillBill Lindsay RW 22 5 5 10 18 6 0 1 1
Mellanby, ScottScott Mellanby RW 22 3 6 9 44 -10 2 0 0
Jovanovski, EdEd Jovanovski D 22 1 8 9 52 2 0 0 0
Niedermayer, RobRob Niedermayer C 22 5 3 8 12 -8 2 0 2
Fitzgerald, TomTom Fitzgerald RW 22 4 4 8 34 3 0 0 2
Laus, PaulPaul Laus D 21 2 6 8 62 3 0 0 0
Woolley, JasonJason Woolley D 13 2 6 8 14 3 1 0 1
Garpenlov, JohanJohan Garpenlov LW 20 4 2 6 8 -2 0 0 0
Svehla, RobertRobert Svehla D 22 0 6 6 32 3 0 0 0
Hough, MikeMike Hough LW 22 4 1 5 8 5 0 0 2
Hull, JodyJody Hull RW 14 3 2 5 0 4 0 0 0
Straka, MartinMartin Straka C 13 2 2 4 2 -2 0 0 0
Dvorak, RadekRadek Dvorak RW 16 1 3 4 0 2 0 0 0
Skrudland, BrianBrian Skrudland C 21 1 3 4 18 6 0 0 0
Carkner, TerryTerry Carkner D 22 0 4 4 10 8 0 0 0
Murphy, GordGord Murphy D 14 0 4 4 6 1 0 0 0
Vanbiesbrouck, JohnJohn Vanbiesbrouck G 22 0 1 1 20 0 0 0 0
Warrener, RhettRhett Warrener D 21 0 1 1 0 3 0 0 0
Washburn, SteveSteve Washburn C 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Fitzpatrick, MarkMark Fitzpatrick G 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Smith, GeoffGeoff Smith D 1 0 0 0 2 -1 0 0 0
Goaltending
Player MIN GP W L GA GAA SO SA SV SV%
Vanbiesbrouck, JohnJohn Vanbiesbrouck 1332 22 12 10 50 2.25 1 735 685 .932
Fitzpatrick, MarkMark Fitzpatrick 60 2 0 0 6 6.00 0 30 24 .800
Team: 1392 22 12 10 56 2.41 1 765 709 .927

[1]

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/- = plus/minus; PIM = Penalty minutes; PPG = Power-play goals; SHG = Short-handed goals; GWG = Game-winning goals
      MIN = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; GA = Goals-against; GAA = Goals-against average; SO = Shutouts; SA = Shots against; SV = Shots saved; SV% = Save percentage;

Trades[edit | edit source]

The Panthers acquired Ray Sheppard from the San Jose Sharks on the trade deadline in 1996.

Playoffs[edit | edit source]

Stanley Cup Finals[edit | edit source]

With their backs to the wall, the Panthers played a defensive game four. This was the Scott Mellanby's first trip to the finals in 9 years. Florida goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck went save for save with Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy. The two teams played a marathon game that took until the third overtime period. Uwe Krupp's unassisted goal at 4:31 ended 44 minutes and 31 seconds of overtime and gave the Avalanche a 1–0 win and a four-games-to-none series win. Goaltender Patrick Roy stopped all 63 shots he faced. Colorado outscored Florida 15–4 in the series, and Patrick Roy stopped 147 of 151 shots, for a save percentage of .974. Joe Sakic was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, having led all skaters in goals with 18, and points with 34. For both Patrick Roy and Claude Lemieux, it was their third Stanley Cup win in eleven years.

Colorado vs. Florida
Date Away Home
June 4 Florida 1 3 Colorado
June 6 Florida 1 8 Colorado
June 8 Colorado 3 2 Florida
June 10 Colorado 1 0 Florida 3OT
Colorado wins series 4–0
and Stanley Cup
Joe Sakic (Colorado)
wins Conn Smythe Trophy

Awards and records[edit | edit source]

Game Ads[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1995-96 Florida Panthers Statistics - Hockey-Reference.com. hockey-reference.com. Retrieved on 2009-07-27.


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