Twenty years ago, the Florida Panthers had “The Year Of The Rat.”
It was a season in which the Panthers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, losing to the Colorado Avalanche. It was a season where forward Scott Mellanby scored two goals after killing a rat with his stick in the locker room, sparking a fan tradition in which they tossed rubber rats on the ice after goals.
That tradition has continued here and there through the years, and especially when the Panthers are in contention, as they are this season. But to commemorate the anniversary of the 1996 season, the Panthers gave away 10,000 special rubber rats to fans before their game against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
— Michael Damiani (@MDamiani_) April 1, 2016
Key phrase: Before the game.
So when Jonathan Huberdeau scored his 17th goal of the season … well, you imagine what happened next.
The delay lasted 10 minutes.
According to the Miami Herald, “the Panthers hope fans keep these rats as souvenirs as they say ‘Year of the Rat 1995-96’ printed on them.” Yeah, not so much …
As is tradition, the fans were warned not to toss any more rats on the ice lest the home team get a delay of game penalty, therefore incentivizing visiting Devils fans to do just that.
True to form, the Panthers were given two delay of game penalties after scoring two more goals in the 3-2 win.
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