Colorado Avalanche Smother the Rat Trick: Throwback Thursday


Everyone has their favorite Patrick Roy story. Some people love his goalie fights, especially his battle with Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood. Some people are fond of the wink that inspired such ire. Some people are entranced by his exit from Montreal — Le Trade.

My favorite story is his spin-o-rama at center ice, when he deked Wayne Gretzky:

Next: Patrick Roy Dekes Gretzky

However, the smothering of the Rat Trick is a close second for me.

The Rat Trick

Obviously, the name Rat Trick is a play on the classic hat trick. The honor for that term goes solely to the Florida Panthers.

It all started when an unsuspecting rat entered the Florida Panthers’ locker room on October 8, 1995. Several players were startled, but Florida right wing Scott Mellanby reacted by slapshooting the poor creature across the dressing room. Ew, and holy animal cruelty, but there it is. The rat died, Mellanby scored with the same stick — double-ew — and Panthers fans were titillated when they heard the story.

After that game, Panthers fans threw plastic rats onto the ice when Florida scored goals. This got annoying when they became one of the leaders in the Eastern Conference.

Stanley Cup Finals

Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals were in Denver — in McNichols Arena. Remember that place? Anyway, the Avalanche took game 1 with a score of 3-1 and game 2 with a ridiculous score of 8-1 — Peter Forsberg scored a hat trick.

Game 3, naturally, the teams played in Florida at Miami Arena. The Avs went up first, on a Claude Lemiex goal. (Remember that agitator?!) However, star goalie Patrick Roy let in a power play goal by Ray Sheppard.

The fans were titillated. Rats coursed onto the ice. They rained down on Patrick Roy. Other goalies during the road to the Cup Finals cowered when the rats hit the ice around them. Patrick Roy doesn’t cower. He stood and let those rats rain on down:

“No More Rats”

Scott Nidermayer scored just a couple minutes later to put the Panthers up 2-1. More rats came down. Patrick Roy got angry. He withstood the barrage at the time. However, during the intermission, he stood in front of his teammates and made a now-famous vow:

"“No more rats.”"

Plenty of players, even goalies, could make such a promise, that they weren’t going to let in any more goals. Only one player in the history of the game seems to have had the sheer will to make it so. It didn’t matter that he and his team were in the Stanley Cup Finals. It didn’t matter that they were only one period into game 3 and playing on the road. Patrick Roy as a goalie had the talent, skill and compete level to follow through on his vow.

And it was a vow. True to this word, he did not allow the Florida Panthers to score another goal against him. Not in game 3, and not in all of game 4.

The Colorado Avalanche swept the Florida Panthers to win their first Stanley Cup, and Patrick Roy was holding the broom.