SUNRISE, FL "No rats on the ice."
That announcement, made on the public address system at the raucous BankAtlantic Center, was sweet music to the ears of playoff-starved Florida Panthers fans on Saturday. It meant success.
The rats litter the ice after Panthers goals. Saturday's "No rats on the ice" announcement, intended to prevent a delay-of-game penalty, last came with just 33.9 seconds left in Game 5 between the Panthers and New Jersey Devils.
It followed the Panthers taking the 3-0 lead that would serve as the game's final score.
And with that shutout victory, amazingly, the Panthers now hold a 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven opening-round series. Florida, which hadn't made a playoff appearance in a NHL-record 12 seasons, is one victory from advancing to the second round.
Game 6 is Tuesday in New Jersey.
"It's definitely huge," right winger Kris Versteeg said of the Panthers' 3-2 series lead and the chance to end the series in two days.
If that effort fails, Florida host...