Commentary

Bruins fans won't let team down

Cup-starved Bostonians will do their part to help turn around finals

Updated: June 5, 2011, 9:51 PM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- The Vancouver Canucks fed off the energy of their fans and their city to take a 2-0 series lead over the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals.

This isn't only about being down two games. The Bruins had every opportunity to win both games in Vancouver, but they failed to capitalize on that chance as the home-ice advantage played a major role for the Canucks.

[+] EnlargeCanucks
Brian Babineau/Getty ImagesVancouver fans clearly gave the Canucks a lift in Games 1 and 2 at Rogers Arena.

The Bruins will be back in their barn for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday, and the Garden needs to be, well, the Garden.

After the Canucks' 3-2 overtime win Saturday night at Rogers Arena, the streets around the city were mobbed with fans, celebrating as if their team had just won the Stanley Cup.

Vancouver fans believe the series is over. Bruins fans need to think it's only beginning.

Veteran Mark Recchi described Boston and its fans as "electric" and suggested the Garden needs to be a sea of black-and-gold hysteria.

After the devastating overtime loss in Game 2, Recchi had a message for Bruins fans: "We're coming home. You've been great all year and exciting. There's a long way to go and we're going to need you on Monday. We're looking forward to being back in front of our home crowd."

The atmosphere at Rogers Arena was intense and the Canucks fed off the crowd.

"It was sensory overload," said Canucks forward Manny Malhotra, who returned to the lineup in Game 2 after suffering a severe eye injury last series. "Just the noise of the crowd and all the towels waving. It was the first time I've seen a home crowd that excited in the playoffs."

Wait until the Canucks step onto the ice at the Garden.

The atmosphere at the Garden for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning was absolutely incredible. When Nathan Horton scored the game's lone goal at 12:27 of the third period, the fans were so loud that the ninth floor at the Garden was literally shaking.

On a scale of 1 to 10, it was probably an eight.

For Game 3 of the Cup finals, it needs to be a 15.

There's little doubt it will be for the first Stanley Cup finals in Boston since 1990.

Of course, the Bruins will take the stance that they've dug out of this sort of hole before and can do it again. Boston was down 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, but beat the Habs twice on the road.

It didn't take long for the Bruins to drop all the clichés after their stunning loss in Game 2.

"We've seen it happen in front of our own eyes," coach Claude Julien said. "We were down 2-0 [to Montreal] and came back and won that series. I don't think there's any reason here to not be positive. You don't get this far and all of a sudden hang your head.

"[The Canucks] had home-ice advantage and won their first two home games. We've got to go back home and do the same. It's one game at a time, as you always hear. We win the first game, it builds momentum and you get yourself back in the series. It's not the end of the world. We lost [Game 2], but we're a better team than that. We're a team that's bounced back all through the season. I don't see an issue here."

Bruins forward Milan Lucic described the team's deficit simply: "This sucks."

Once the Bruins hit the ice, the Boston fans will make it feel like they have the advantage.

"We can't get down. We can't feel sorry for ourselves and the position we're in," Lucic said. "We have to regroup and figure out a way to get back into this series going back to Boston."

The Bruins pushed hard in the first two games, but not hard enough.

"We had the game in our hands and we gave it away," forward David Krejci said.

The Bruins can't give anything else away or their season will end quickly. But Boston and its fans won't allow that to happen.

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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