Stunned Bruins fans walked out of TD Garden Monday night in a daze after the Chicago Blackhawks beat the home team, 3-2, with a pair of late goals to clinch the Stanley Cup, dashing the hopes of the Bruins faithful for a second title in three years.
“Brutal. Devastating,” said Curtis Parenteau, 35, of Manchester, N.H., who attended the game and shares season tickets with friends.
With just two minutes left in the game, Parenteau and other Bruins fans were euphoric as the Black and Gold held a 2-1 lead and were on the verge of forcing a decisive Game 7 in the Windy City.
“We were on our feet,” Parenteau said. “We were ready to move this on to Chicago. [There were] a couple of breakdowns, that’s all there is to it.”
Parenteau was referring to the goals that Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell and center Dave Bolland scored less than 20 seconds apart that sealed the visitors’ shocking, down-to-the-wire victory.
“It fell apart,” said Megan McBournie, 28, of Somerville, a Bruins fan for the past decade. “We had it under wraps. All we had to do was just survive the last two minutes. . . . It’s actually pretty painful.”
Her roommate, Sara Hagan, 29, was at a loss to say how the Blackhawks managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. But she also refused to criticize her beloved Bruins.
“I don’t know” how the Bruins lost, Hagan said. “I wish I knew. I wish it didn’t happen. But you know what? I love the Bruins still. Boston fan for life.”
Most of the thousands of dejected fans who left the Garden wore Bruins apparel, and they appeared to be acting orderly in the immediate aftermath of the crushing loss.
Dozens of police lined Causeway Street and massed on the median dividing the broad avenue, but they spent more time giving directions to Blackhawks fans than they did dealing with troublemakers.
“I was kind of surprised how many people were nice and were high-fiving Blackhawks fans as they came out,” said Robert Dee, 19, of Salem, who wore a Bruins T-shirt bearing the name of center Patrice Bergeron.
Dee said he thought the Bruins might have won if they kept their focus on the fundamentals.
“I feel like they just tried to go for the big things instead of keeping it simple and just playing regular hockey,” he said. “The Blackhawks are a great team, and it was a pretty tough and equal series, I’d say.”
Dee’s friend and fellow diehard Bruins fan, Stan Usovicz, also 19, was similarly graceful in defeat.
“The Blackhawks are an excellent team, and if it had been the other way, it would have been an excellent comeback,” Usovicz said. “Congratulations, I guess.”
Many fans also weighed in on Twitter after the loss, including Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino.
“What a Stanley Cup!!!!!” he tweeted. “Not the outcome we wanted but one heck of a series.”