VANCOUVER - Five is the new four.
After the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Boston Bruins in the first two games of the Stanley Cup final, many fans—including B.C.'s premier—boldly predicted the team would capture the Cup in just four games.
But the Canucks' stunning 8-1 loss in Game 3 on Monday means a sweep is off the table and fans who were hoping for a four-game victory were only making slight adjustments to their expectations.
"I feel confident, I feel like we're going to win this in Game 5," 19-year-old Soraya Jina said Monday night while walking around downtown Vancouver, where the post-game party was decidedly sedate.
"I believe in my team, I believe in my city."
Some offered explanations and excuses for the loss, even wryly suggesting the Canucks had planned to win the Stanley Cup in Game 5 all along.
"We gave it to them, it was a gift," said Miranda Willms, 24. "We're going to bring it back in Game 4, and in Game 5, it's ours."
Jeff Yee, a 37-year-old software engineer who was among thousands watching the game on several large screens in downtown Vancouver, came up with the same story.
"I think we wanted to win in five games, so they kind of threw this game and let them have it," Yee said with a smirk.
"We're going to win Game 4, bring it back here, and take it in Game 5."
Game 4 is in Boston on Wednesday, and the series will return to Vancouver on Friday for Game 5.
Canucks fans have been dutifully counting down the number of wins the team needs to take home the cup since the series began, and they were hoping Monday's game would bring them another step closer to a prize Vancouver has never won.
The Canucks have made it to the Stanley Cup final twice before—in 1982 against the New York Islanders and in 1994 against the New York Rangers—but lost both times.
If the Canucks defeat the Bruins, it would be their first Stanley Cup since joining the NHL four decades ago. It would also mark the first time a Canadian team has captured the Cup since the Montreal Canadiens won it in 1993.
Eric Kaltbrunner, who watched the game on large screens inside Rogers Arena, was also predicting a Game 5 victory, but he said he never expected a sweep.
"I'm surprised they went down 8-1, but I'm not surprised they lost. It's the Stanley Cup final, it's not easy" said Kaltbrunner, 37.
"I think they (the Canucks) are going to win in five. They're the better team."
The post-game celebrations Monday night were only a shell of the massive street parties that have erupted each time the Canucks have won in the playoffs.
Last Saturday, an estimated 70,000 people gathered along the popular Granville Street entertainment district and on surrounding roads.
The Vancouver police didn't have any numbers Monday night, but said the crowds were quickly thinning after the game ended.
Still, Granville Street was blocked to traffic for several blocks and hundreds of people, many in blue Canucks jerseys, some waving flags, were milling about after the game.
There were still the occasional chants and cheers, and fans who wanted to run up the street screaming, as a few did, had plenty of room.
"It's dead," said Kevin Basanti, 29, of Surrey,
"There are no high-fives. There are probably low-fives."