VANCOUVER – The roaring crowds that have marked the Vancouver Canucks’ playoff wins were reduced to a whimper Monday night, as fans in the city’s downtown wandered around with stunned looks on their faces clinging to hope the next game would be different.
Thousands of fans watching the game on giant outdoor screens let out gasps of exasperation as the Bruins scored one goal after another, eventually winning 8-1. The loss leaves Vancouver still leading the Stanley Cup final 2-1.
The scene afterwards was a stark contrast to the massive parties that have followed the Canucks’ earlier playoff wins, including celebrations after Game 2 on Saturday that saw 70,000 people out in the streets.
On Monday, a steady stream of spectators were already packing up and leaving the outdoor viewing sites by the beginning of the third period, when it was clear the Canucks had little chance to turn things around.
“I don’t think they’re going to come back,” said Daniel Paulino, 18, stating the obvious as he left a few minutes into the final period.
“But there are still more games.”
When the game ended, rather than leaping to their feet to cheer, most fans gathered their things and glumly walked away.
Along the popular Granville Street entertainment district, which has been ground zero for the loud playoff parties, there were still hundreds of fans walking around, waving flags and offering the occasional cheer.
Bryan Milner, a 21-year-old paramedic who watched the game on a large outdoor screen, said the loss hadn’t shaken his confidence in the Canucks’ prospects to win the Stanley Cup.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed, we didn’t play well tonight and let in a lot of goals,” said Milner.
“I’m looking forward to the next game. I think we all knew that Boston was really going to come back flying, play hard. It was to be expected I think. I think our chances are still really good to win the Cup, I think we just have to regroup.”
Game 4 is in Boston on Wednesday, and the series will return to Vancouver on Friday for Game 5.
Earlier in the day, Canucks fans throughout Vancouver prepared for what many hoped would be the team’s third win in a row.
Dozens of Lululemon employees spent part of the morning stretching for the Cup, contorting their bodies into yoga positions to show their support in a typically Vancouver way as rush-hour traffic whizzed by.
“Every morning on Canucks’ game day, we are doing yoga to cheer on our team,” media spokesperson Jennifer Neziol said in an email.
“It’s our way of supporting the Canucks on their road to the Stanley Cup.”
In B.C. Supreme Court, Judge Bill Ercke told jurors hearing a second-degree murder trial they’d be taken to a restaurant to watch the game.
At the Vancouver Aquarium, Cosmo, a blue-fronted Amazon parrot, worked her regular shift, entertaining crowds, just days after picking the Canucks as Game 3 and series’ winners.
Cosmo has correctly picked the Canucks in the series leading up to the showdown with the Bruins.
The bird turned out to be wrong about Monday’s game, but she could redeem her record if she’s right about the series.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark lit Vancouver’s Olympic cauldron Monday afternoon, promising the home fires would burn for the team while the Canucks were on the road.
She was flanked by former Canuck Dave Babych, a member of the 1994 team that was the last Vancouver squad to play in the Stanley Cup final, as she lead hundreds of fans in a chant of “Go Canucks Go!”
“Do you remember how great we felt when Canada brought home the gold during the Olympic Games?” said Clark, likely referring to the night the Canadian men’s hockey team defeated the United States.
“Do you think it’s going to be just as good when we bring home the Stanley Cup?” she continued, drawing loud cheers.
After that gold medal game last February, police estimated as many as 200,000 people filled downtown streets for celebrations that lasted well into the night.
The post-game celebrations in recent weeks have yet to rival those numbers, but about 70,000 flooded the streets after the Canucks’ Game 2 victory on Saturday, by far the largest crowds since the playoffs began.
Bree Nicholl, 34, travelled to Vancouver from his home on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast to join the party. He was at Rogers Arena for Game 2, and planned to be inside again for Game 3, watching on large screens in the arena with thousands ofother fans.
Nicholl said the mood in the city is great, but he said it hadn’t quite reached Olympic proportions.
“I think it’s a great idea to bring it (the cauldron) out for the celebrations, it’s what Vancouver is all about,” said Nicholl.
“It’s the same good feeling, but it’s not as big as the Olympics. At the Olympics, there was a lot more people, it was every day, in your face. It’s getting there, but it’s not quite there yet.”