VANCOUVER – Canucks fans attempting to plot the team’s path to the Stanley Cup are settling on a new plan after a second loss to the Boston Bruins: it’s all about home-ice advantage.
The Boston Bruins defeated the Canucks 4-0 on Wednesday night, leaving the series tied at 2-2.
That leaves up to three games left, and fans are quick to point out that two of them—Games 5 and 7—just so happen to be in Vancouver.
“That’s why you play the regular season, for home-ice advantage. If you expect to win on the road, then you wouldn’t care about home-ice advantage,” Andy Nguyen, 26, said after Wednesday night’s loss. “Boston feeds off the crowd, and Vancouver will do the same.”
Nguyen is still hoping the Canucks will win the series in six games, but the extra home game, given to Vancouver because it finished first in the regular season, serves as an extra buffer which he insisted would ensure the team a victory.
Canucks fans have spent the past few days rationalizing and explaining away two consecutive losses, while imagining possible scenarios that would see the team still win the Stanley Cup.
It’s been an exercise in positive thinking that has no doubt been difficult. The Canucks didn’t just lose, but were walloped twice in a row.
Wednesday night’s 4-0 loss came just two days after an even worse performance, when the team went down in defeat 8-1.
Michael Lari, 36, had also done the home-game math.
“All we have to do is win the next two home games, and then we’re going to have the cup,” said Lari, wearing a blue Canucks jersey while walking down Vancouver’s Granville Street on Wednesday night.
“I strongly believe that next game at home, we’re going to win that, and even if we lose the following game, we have the Game 7 at home.”
It’s rare to find a Canucks fan who will even consider that their team might not win, but some admit they’ve lost some confidence.
Mary So said a week ago, she would have predicted a Canucks victory, but now she’s not quite as sure.
“If they can put in more effort, and if (goaltender Roberto) Luongo can bounce back, then we definitely have a chance,” said So.
“It’s hard to tell.”
Others, like Mike Sunner, weren’t prepared to contemplate possible defeat—not now, not ever.
“I’m not a bandwagon jumper and I’m not going to throw them under the bus,” said Summer, 21, who travelled to Vancouver from his home in Surrey, B.C., to watch Game 4.
“I’m going to stick with them. These guys have made it this far, there’s no way they can’t make it. As soon as they come home, this home crowd is going to make it phenomenal. We’ll show them what we’re made of.”
Game 5 is in Vancouver on Friday, and Game 6 will be in Boston on Monday. If the series goes to Game 7, that would be in Vancouver next Wednesday.