1995–96 Florida Panthers season

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1995–96 Florida Panthers
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
Team information
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 Robert Svehla (49)
Points Scott Mellanby (70)
Penalties in minutes Paul Laus (236)
Plus/minus Bill Lindsay (+13)
Wins John Vanbiesbrouck (26)
Goals against average John Vanbiesbrouck (2.68)

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]

NHL draft[edit]

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

Regular season[edit]

Year of the Rat[edit]

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. Panthers winger Scott Mellanby reacted by "one-timing" the rat against the wall, killing it [4]. That night he scored two goals, which goaltender 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. In an amusing 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]

Atlantic Division
No. GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 Philadelphia Flyers 82 45 24 13 282 208 103
2 New York Rangers 82 41 27 14 272 237 96
3 Florida Panthers 82 41 31 10 254 234 92
4 Washington Capitals 82 39 32 11 234 204 89
5 Tampa Bay Lightning 82 38 32 12 238 248 88
6 New Jersey Devils 82 37 33 12 215 202 86
7 New York Islanders 82 22 50 10 229 315 54
Eastern Conference[1]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 Philadelphia Flyers ATL 82 45 24 13 282 208 103
2 Pittsburgh Penguins NE 82 49 29 4 362 284 102
3 New York Rangers ATL 82 41 27 14 272 237 96
4 Florida Panthers ATL 82 41 31 10 254 234 92
5 Boston Bruins NE 82 40 31 11 282 269 91
6 Montreal Canadiens NE 82 40 32 10 265 248 90
7 Washington Capitals ATL 82 39 32 11 234 204 89
8 Tampa Bay Lightning ATL 82 38 32 12 238 248 88
9 New Jersey Devils ATL 82 37 33 12 215 202 86
10 Hartford Whalers NE 82 34 39 9 237 259 77
11 Buffalo Sabres NE 82 33 42 7 247 262 73
12 New York Islanders ATL 82 22 50 10 229 315 54
13 Ottawa Senators NE 82 18 59 5 191 291 41

Divisions: ATL – Atlantic, NE – Northeast

bold – Qualified for playoffs


Schedule and results[edit]

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 statistics[edit]

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

[2]

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]

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

Playoffs[edit]

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals[edit]

The fifth-seeded Boston Bruins had one of the best offenses in the Eastern Conference, scoring 282 goals lead by Cam Neely (26 goals) and Adam Oates (25 goals, 67 assists). The Panthers won their first-ever playoff game 6-3 before a sold out Miami Arena,[3] and soon built a 3-0 lead despite being outshot by the Bruins on all games.[4] The Bruins stepped up to win Game 4 with a 6-2 blowout before the Boston crows.[5] Game 5 was tied 3-3 when with 4:57 left, Bill Lindsay scored with a dive through the air goal while being tripped by star defenseman Ray Bourque, giving the Panthers their first-ever playoff series victory.[6] This was the last year in a record 29 consecutive seasons in the playoffs for the Bruins, as they missed the 1997 post-season.[7]

Eastern Conference Quarter-final vs. Boston (5)
Game Date Venue Score OT Attendance Decision Series
1 April 17 Miami Arena Florida 6 – 3 Boston 14,703 Vanbiesbrouck Panthers lead 1–0
2 April 22 Miami Arena Florida 6 – 2 Boston 14,703 Vanbiesbrouck Panthers lead 2–0
3 April 24 Fleet Center Florida 4 – 2 Boston 14,922 Vanbiesbrouck Panthers lead 3-0
4 April 25 Fleet Center Boston 6 – 2 Florida 14,810 Ranford Panthers lead 3–1
5 April 27 Miami Arena Florida 4 – 3 Boston 14,703 Vanbiesbrouck Panthers win 4-1

Eastern Conference Semifinals[edit]

The Philadelphia Flyers finished atop the Eastern Conference in the regular season with 103 points, led by the high-scoring "Legion of Doom" and the strong goaltending of Garth Snow and Ron Hextall. Philadelphia had just eliminated the other Florida team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in 5 games a 2-1 series deficit.[8]

Vanbiesbrouck posted a 2–0 shutout in Game 1,[9] and it took until midway through Game 2 for the Flyers to get rolling offensively in a narrow 3–2 win.[10] Game 3 saw Flyers veterans Dan Quinn, Dale Hawerchuk, Eric Desjardins and Hextall set the tone in a 3–1 victory.[11] With young defenseman Ed Jovanovski tightly covering Flyers superstar Eric Lindros, the Panthers reversed the tide,[12] defeating the Flyers in overtime in Game 4 and double-overtime in Game 5, in what would turn out to be the last Flyers game at the Spectrum.[13] Lindros promised to win game 6 to return the series to Philadelphia, but the Panthers won with a 4-1 score. Florida became the third team to reach the conference finals in their third season - following fellow expansion team New York Islanders in 1975 and the Quebec Nordiques in 1982.[14]

Eastern Conference Semifinal vs. Philadelphia (1)
Game Date Venue Score OT Attendance Decision Series
1 May 2 CoreStates Spectrum Florida 2 – 0 Philadelphia 17,380 Vanbiesbrouck Panthers lead 1–0
2 May 4 CoreStates Spectrum Philadelphia 2 – 0 Florida 17,380 Hextall Tied 1–1
3 May 7 Miami Arena Philadelphia 3 – 2 Florida 14,703 Hextall Flyers lead 2-1
4 May 9 Miami Arena Florida 4 – 3 Philadelphia OT 14,703 Vanbiesbrouck Tied 2–2
5 May 12 CoreStates Spectrum Florida 2 – 1 Philadelphia 2OT 17,380 Vanbiesbrouck Panthers lead 3–2
6 May 14 Miami Arena Florida 4 – 1 Philadelphia 14,703 Vanbiesbrouck Panthers win 4-2

Eastern Conference Finals[edit]

The 2-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins were energized by the return of Mario Lemieux, who missed the entire 1994–95 season due to injury, and had the league's best offense, scoring 362 goals, and the most wins in the Eastern conference with 49, finishing just one point behind the Flyers. The Penguins advanced to the third round for the first time since 1992, defeating the Washington Capitals in six games and the New York Rangers in five games.

Despite being outshot 33–25 in game one the Panthers came out on top with an impressive 5–1 win, with 32 saves by Vanbiesbrouck and two goals by forward Tom Fitzgerald. The Penguins wanting to avoid going down two games to none against the Panthers came out with a better effort in game two and won the game 3–2 and evened the series at one game each. In game three the Panthers fired an incredible 61 shots on Penguins goaltender Tom Barrasso and it paid off as the Panthers won 5–2 - two goals by Stu Barnes - to take a 2–1 series lead. The Penguins tied game four on Brad Lauer's goal with 11:03 remaining in regulation, and Bryan Smolinski scored with 3:31 to go to give the Penguins a 2–1 lead, tying the series. In game five the Penguins shut out the Panthers 3–0, with Barrasso stopping 28 shots.

Leading the series three games to two Pittsburgh looked to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals in game six. The Penguins led 2–1 in the second period but the Panthers scored three of the next four goals and edged the Penguins 4–3 to tie the series at 3–3. In game seven Florida got a 1–0 lead on Mike Hough's goal at 13:13 of the first period. After a scoreless second period Pittsburgh tied the game on Petr Nedvěd's power-play goal at 1:23 of the third period. The Panthers regained the lead on Tom Fitzgerald's bizarre 58-foot slapshot at 6:18 and got an insurance goal from Johan Garpenlov at 17:23. Florida hung on to win the game 3–1, with a total of 39 saves by Vanbiesbrouck, and closed the series four games to three.[15]

By reaching the finals in only their third season, the Panthers became the fastest expansion team to do so.[16] Many Panthers players were managing their first trips to the finals after long careers, such as Vanbiesbrouck (13 years) and Scott Mellanby (9 years).

Eastern Conference Final vs. Pittsburgh (2)
Game Date Venue Score OT Attendance Decision Series
1 May 18 Civic Arena Florida 5 – 1 Pittsburgh 17,355 Vanbiesbrouck Panthers lead 1–0
2 May 20 Civic Arena Pittsburgh 3 – 2 Florida 17,181 Barrasso Tied 1–1
3 May 24 Miami Arena Florida 5 – 2 Pittsburgh 14,703 Vanbiesbrouck Panthers lead 2-1
4 May 26 Miami Arena Pittsburgh 2 – 1 Florida 14,703 Barrasso Tied 2–2
5 May 28 Civic Arena Pittsburgh 3 – 0 Florida 17,355 Barrasso Penguins lead 3-2
6 May 30 Miami Arena Florida 4 – 3 Pittsburgh 14,703 Vanbiesbrouck Tied 3-3
7 June 1 Civic Arena Florida 3 – 1 Pittsburgh 17,355 Vanbiesbrouck Panthers win 4-3


Stanley Cup Finals[edit]

In the first Stanley Cup Finals where neither team had ever reached the decision before, the Panthers faced the Colorado Avalanche, who were in their inaugural season after relocating from Quebec City. Led by captain Joe Sakic, forward Peter Forsberg and defenceman Adam Foote, the Avalanche got even stronger once goaltender Patrick Roy joined the team on December 1995. The Avalanche finished the season with a 47–25–10 record for 104 points, won the Pacific Division and finished second in the Western Conference. On their way to the Western title, the Avs beat the Vancouver Canucks, the Chicago Blackhawks and Presidents' Trophy winners Detroit Red Wings, all in six games.[17]

The series started in Denver, and the Avs dominated the Panthers at the McNichols Sports Arena. On game 1, Vanbiesbrouck shut out Colorado for half the game, before three goals were scored in a stretch of 3:49 minutes in the second period, leading to a 3-1 victory. The following game was an 8–1 blowout, starting with three power play goals in the first period as Florida incurred in bad penalties that forced Vanbiesbrouck to be pulled out in favor of Mark Fitzpatrick. Returning to Miami, Game 3 was closer, with Florida scoring twice in the first period. But the Avs still came through, taking over the lead with a Joe Sakic goal early in the second period and holding on to a 3–2 victory.[18]

With their backs to the wall, the Panthers played a defensive game four. Vanbiesbrouck and Roy stood out, combining for 118 saves, and 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]

References[edit]