VANCOUVER – Vancouver’s hopes of a Cup celebration fizzled early Monday evening.
Everyone was ready for a party—fans decked in blue and green, the police and even the provincial government, which closed downtown liquor stores just in case. But the Canucks weren’t able to deliver, stumbling out of the gate and losing 5-2 in Boston to tie the Stanley Cup final at three games apiece.
Now it all comes down to Game 7, back home at Rogers Arena on Wednesday.
“You gotta believe, that’s all there is to it,” said 18-year-old Brayden Goodman as he tried to cheer glum friends.
“You bring it in our city, we win the game. We’re the best team in the league—we’ll show the world.”
“I think they want to win it back here in Vancouver,” said Bill Derbyshire, who was in from William’s Lake, B.C., just to watch the game.
The Bruins reeled off early goals from Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Andrew Ference and Tomas Kaberle to continue the trend of home dominance in the series.
Vancouver pulled goalie Roberto Luongo for Cory Schneider at 3-0 at 8:35 of the first period, but that didn’t stop the scoring spree. At the other end, Boston’s Tim Thomas was perfect as Boston led 4-0 after the second period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final.
“Tim Thomas is out of his mind,” tweeted Canadian basketball star Steve Nash, who was at the game.
The Canucks rallied in the third with a goal from Henrik Sedin just 22 seconds in. Jannik Hansen thought he made it 4-2 but the puck bounced off the post. David Krejci restored the Bruins’ four-goal lead on a two-man advantage before Maxim Lapierre scored late to cut the lead to 5-2.
On Vancouver streets, hundreds of police officers patrolled crowds to keep liquor consumption under control while fans watched on giant screens or in bars.
Even the weather co-operated, with the sun peaking out at game time—5 p.m. local—after an overcast day of sporadic showers.
But the skies soon returned to overcast, reflecting the mood of the crowd. Many left after the first-period debacle.
Despite nerves frayed from two previous humiliating defeats in Beantown, fans kept it positive before the puck dropped by spiking beachballs, donning flags as capes and making giant chalk drawings of the team logo.
In a bid to keep the festivities under control, the provincial government ordered 19 liquor stores to close early—at 4 p.m.—in downtown Vancouver. They had remained open as usual during the opening two games of the final in Vancouver.
“This was done during the Olympics, and there was an immediate reduction of alcohol-related violence and disorder,” Solicitor General Shirley Bond said in a statement.
There were an estimated 100,000 fans in the streets for Game 5 Friday and more had been expected Monday.
“Alcohol consumption on the streets and public intoxication reached an unacceptable level on Friday, and we have a responsibility to ensure everyone can enjoy public events and celebrations in a safe manner,” Brown said.
“Let’s show the world once again that British Columbians know how to celebrate in a safe and responsible manner,” she added.
Const. Jana McGuinness said police poured out about 3,000 bottles during Friday’s game.
“We didn’t see anything like that in the Olympics,” she said. “The highest pour-outs were 1,800. So liquor is a big issue and we’re going to stay on top of it tonight.”
As in previous games, the city of Vancouver closed some streets in the downtown core to allow crowds to watch the action on big-screen TVs.
While bars looked forward to another Canucks-generated bonanza, The Bay prepared for victory sales.
The Bay’s flagship downtown department store had planned to stay open late to have “thousands of commemorative T-shirts available for purchase in the event of an historic Vancouver win” immediately after the game.
Meanwhile, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and others started weighing in on the cost of the Canucks party.
The city has already spent about $1.3 million on policing and outdoor public events like giant TV screens to broadcast games, and it would like Victoria and Ottawa to pitch in to cover the costs.
Premier Christy Clark said if the Canucks win the Stanley Cup, the provincial government would help Vancouver pay for the celebration but policing costs would be up to the city.
Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore said in Ottawa prior to the game that the city hadn’t made any request for help.
And asked if Ottawa would chip in for a parade, he replied: “Well, I suppose we’ll cross that bridge but any discussion of anything like that after the moment has happened would be jinxing it and shame on you for tempting that.”
The Vancouver Fire Department said fire prevention officers would be checking bars to guard against overcrowding and to ensure fire safety.
The Canucks are looking to become the first Canadian champions since Montreal in 1993.