VANCOUVER – For Vancouver Canucks fans, the cup is half full.
Alex Burrows’ overtime goal Saturday night against the Boston Bruins ended Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals with a 3-2 victory for the Canucks.
The win, which gives the Canucks a 2-0 lead in the series, has prompted jubilant fans to celebrate the fact their team is now halfway to claiming that coveted cup.
The intense focus on the number of games left to win comes from both confidence and nervousness.
There is the confidence that the Canucks are that much closer to the Stanley Cup, which the team has never won in its four-decade history despite making it to the final twice before.
But there is also the nervousness that comes from being a longtime Canucks fan, suffering through years of losing streaks and missed playoff opportunities, long in the habit of not declaring victory too soon.
At times, it feels like some fans are still trying to reassure themselves: don’t worry, they only need two more.
“It’s been a long time coming, a roller-coaster ride, up and down, every shift, every game,” Craig Peterson, 40, said while celebrating in the streets after Saturday’s game.
“Two to go, we’re not there yet,” he added, before putting the team’s chances at a respectable—but far from definitive—75 per cent.
Gloria Ng, 29, who watched the game with friends at a downtown pub, said years of being a “die-hard” Canucks fan have taught her some lessons about making any predictions.
“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, it’s been a really long journey and it’s kind of surreal still that we’re even in this,” said Ng. “But like a Canucks fan, I’m not going to say anything, because I don’t want to jinx it. You’re always going to be rooting for them, but you don’t always want to come out and say it.”
But it’s that same rocky history, explained Ng, that makes the ongoing Stanley Cup series so sweet.
“If you’ve been a Canucks fan and you’ve been with them for this long and you’ve made it this far, it’s really great,” she said.
The last time the Canucks were in the Stanley Cup final was 1994, when the team lost to the New York Rangers. Before that, the Canucks lost in the final to the New York Islanders in 1982.
Kevin Brandis said the Game 2 win was a weight off his shoulders.
“It’s a bit of a relief,” said the 27-year-old. “Since ’94, when we lost there—we don’t want another 17 years and no cup.”
Still, Brandis bristled at the suggestion a Canucks victory isn’t a sure thing.
“We are going to win,” he said. “I think it’s our year.”
Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Monday and Wednesday in Boston.