In a way, that's exactly what the Boston Bruins did Sunday.
The St. Louis Blues were one win away from their first Stanley Cup championship, and more than 40,000 fans were outside Enterprise Center poised to throw one of the biggest parties the city has ever seen.
But the Bruins had other plans. A 5-1 loss in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final scuttled the Blues' celebration and set up Game 7 at Boston on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).
Video: BOS@STL, Gm6: Carlo tallies on bouncing puck
Much like his teammates, Binnington was not happy with the outcome, nor did the goalie appreciate a question from a reporter about the Bruins' second goal, a floater by defenseman Brandon Carlo that skipped off the ice and bounced past him at 2:31 of the third period to make it 2-0 and gave Boston some much-needed breathing room.
"Did you watch it?" Binnington responded.
The reporter nodded his head.
"Did it bounce there?" Binnington asked.
"That's a good eye."
Was the rookie goalie toying with the media as he has much of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, or were the massive expectations finally causing him to crack?
Whatever the case, he has to be better in Game 7.
"A bounce off the ice got under [Binnington's] arm, I believe," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "That's tough there and set us back."
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But the blame can't be pinned on Binnington alone. This was a team loss, from start to finish; the power play, for example, went 0-for-4 and continues to be far too deliberate, allowing Bruins defenders to get into position.
"We have to move the puck much quicker," Blues center Brayden Schenn said.
Discipline -- or lack thereof -- needs to be improved. Schenn's boarding penalty on Bruins forward Joakim Nordstrom at 7:17 of the first period completely siphoned the momentum the Blues accrued early in the game, not to mention life out of the crowd.
"You're not going to win every game," Binnington said. "You're not going to be perfect. We have to regroup and play our game, be disciplined, stay composed and hopefully have a better outcome."
In order for that to happen, St. Louis can't lose its cool the way defenseman Robert Bortuzzo did with 17 seconds remaining when he cross-checked Boston forward Noel Acciari in the face. Bortuzzo received a minor penalty and 10-minute misconduct.
The Bruins have never before hosted a Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final. TD Garden will be bonkers. The Blues can expect to be mocked ad nauseam. How they handle it will go a long way in determining the outcome.
Being away from home has not bothered the Blues this postseason; they're 9-3 on the road and have outscored the opposition 38-29. They're 2-1 in this series, winning 3-2 in Game 2 and 2-1 in Game 5.
Berube wants the Blues to embrace the moment, even though they let one get away in Game 6.
"Listen, if you told me four months ago we were going to be in the Finals in Game 7, I think I'd take it," Berube said. "We've been a good road team. We've won twice up there in this series, so we're a confident group."
Video: Bruins force Game 7 with 5-1 win against Blues
It will take more than confidence to win the Cup in Boston. It will take better execution.
"Well, we've just got to play," St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "We've been a good road team all year. We know we need to play better and we've had a good recipe on the road, so we'll use that."
For Blues forward David Perron, Game 7 is a glass-half-full scenario.
Perron played for the Vegas Golden Knights last season, when they lost to the Washington Capitals in five games in the Stanley Cup Final. Now he gets another shot. As much as he wanted to give the fans something to party about, the opportunity to win the Cup remains alive.
"[The city] was crazy," Perron said. "We stayed at the hotel there in the afternoon, and you could hear people honking and yelling, 'Let's Go Blues!' You could see people walking up and down the street. It was a cool sighting, and cool when we get our police escort around the rink to go around the whole thing. Our fans have been great, and we're going to do everything we can to get another thing similar, maybe bigger."
They can accomplish that by winning Game 7.
"I'm already excited for the next game; it's going to be the best game of our life," Perron said. "We're going to put everything on the line, empty the tank.
"It's going to be exciting."
Listen: Game 7 preview from NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast