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Vancouver fans celebrate into the night

by Dhiren Mahiban /
VANCOUVER -- After a normal game, Griffiths Way, the street outside the parking garage at Rogers Arena, is relatively quiet. However, Saturday night, at the conclusion of the Canucks 3-2 overtime win several hundred fans, who were leaving the arena, gathered around the parking garage to send off the players as they left the rink.

Police lined either sidewalk to insure cars were able to get through.

Alexandre Burrows’ goal 11 seconds into overtime was a little too soon into the extra session for some fans in attendance including a fan from Chilliwack, B.C.

“I was still ordering my drink, it was too quick. I did see the replay, but I’ll tell you, I wish I had of seen it live,” he said.

Since he missed the goal, the Chilliwack native is kind of hoping the Canucks split in Boston.

“I kinda wished Boston would’ve won, cause then they would’ve come here for another game,” he joked.  “You can’t sweep the Bruins, there’s no way, there’s no way you’re going to sweep the Bruins.”

Fans lined the street did see Burrows leave the parking garage in his SUV. Burrows stopped to wave at the fans as cheers hit ear-ringing decibels.

Bars along the popular Granville Street in Vancouver's entertainment district were already seeing people lined up by 2:30 -- nearly three hours before the opening faceoff.

After the game, fans flooded the downtown core, waving flags and high-fiving each other.

The party started hours before the game and the confidence was high.

“Petty confident, we know we have a good team, know that we can pull it out,” said Surrey native, Jimmy. “The first series was seven games, second series six, third series five – now I think anything’s possible.”
Canucks fans have been waiting 41 years to see their team hoist the Stanley Cup. The home team is now just three wins away, and Canucks' supporters downtown weren't shy about sharing their two cents on Vancouver's current run.

"They seem to have all the pieces in the right place," said Ryan Black of Burnaby, B.C. "They're playing well and (Roberto) Luongo is doing well. It's an exciting time."

The last time the Canucks got this close was in 1994 – after knocking off the Toronto Maple Leafs in five games for the Western Conference crown, the Canucks met the New York Rangers in the Final. Vancouver won Game 1 of that series, but went on to lose the next three. After battling back, the Canucks picked up a 4-1 win at home in Game 6 to force a deciding game at Madison Square Garden. However, the Rangers won 3-2, prolonging the Canucks' Cup drought -- they were swept by the New York Islanders in 1982 in their first trip to the Final.

"When I was nine years old, in 1994, it felt like people were almost not quite ready for the situation," continued Ben, who plans to watch tonight's game at a local bar. "It was as if you're riding a motorcycle that's too powerful for you. People didn't really know what to do, people didn't know what to make of it. It was a little bit too soon and things got out of hand.

"This year, after the (2010 Winter) Olympics, we've got a bit of spring in our step and I feel like we're totally ready to bring it home."

It was on this day, June 4, 1994, that the Rangers beat the Canucks 5-1 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at the Pacific Coliseum to take a 2-1 series lead.

"We had it pretty well in '94 too, we just ended up not winning," continued Black, who plans on watching Game 2 from Robson Square in downtown Vancouver. "I think this year all the pistons seem to be firing at the right time, they're peaking at the right time. They got through the Blackhawks and it seems like that really propelled them and has given them motivation to go all the way this time."
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