VANCOUVER – Streets in the downtown core were closed by noon local time in preparation for the crowds expected in Vancouver. Liquor stores downtown were forced to close by 4 p.m. Police in Vancouver -- and neighboring municipalities -- were ready to handle a celebration 40-years in the making.
However, four Bruins goals in a 4:14 span of the first period of Game 6 spoiled what would've been a party for the ages.
Nearly 15,000 towel waving fans chose to watch the game inside Rogers Arena on the big screen, but slowly headed for the exits as Boston found the back of the net in record time Monday night.
Fans following along on Twitter were calling for Canucks coach Alain Vigneault to make a goaltending change after Milan Lucic made it 2-0, and the Rogers Arena crowd cheered when Cory Schneider was shown getting ready to come off the bench to replace Roberto Luongo after Andrew Ference made it 3-0.
Despite the fact Luongo allowed three goals on eight shots in the first period, Canucks fans are confident that he is the guy for Game 7.
"You got to put Luongo back," said Rob Cecil, a Vancouverite, who now resides in Toronto. "It's the biggest game of his career."
Added Chris Vassers of Vancouver: "I think Luongo is better here than he is (in Boston)."
The shift the Canucks' line of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Alexandre Burrows had late in the first period received the loudest cheers in what was a mostly disappointing night for Vancouver fans.
Daniel's chance, which rang off the post early in the second period, also had the crowd going.
Without much to cheer for, the crowd began a "Go Canucks Go!" chant 7:30 into the second period.
Henrik's goal 22 seconds into the third period gave the building some life as everyone was on their feet waving their towels. The crowd thought Vancouver had pulled within two when Jannik Hansen appeared to beat Tim Thomas, but was disappointed when replays showed it hit the post.
Any optimism Canucks fans had vanished when David Krejci made it 5-1 on a 5-on-3 Bruins' power play. The goal sent many for the exits at Rogers Arena.
Some of the fans NHL.com talked to leaving the Canucks' home rink were too angry to share their opinion on the Game 6 loss, while others were cautiously optimistic about their team's chances heading into Game 7 on Wednesday.
"You're not out of it until you've lost on home ice," said Cecil. "Maybe I wasn't expecting the game to be so one-sided so fast, but I didn't think Boston would go down very easily.
"Nothing like a Game 7 to solve it."
The Odds, the Rogers Arena house band -- a staple during home games -- played sets in the first and second intermissions and dedicated their set after 20 minutes to fallen Canucks forward Mason Raymond, who was injured early in the first period.