Bruins fans, Cup-crazed before final game, stream out of bars crushed
Boston Bruins fans streamed out of bars near TD Garden and a viewing party at the team’s practice facility in Brighton Wednesday night stunned by the team’s 4-to-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup final.
Fans cried and booed as they pushed aside police barriers to walk along Causeway and other streets surrounding the Garden as the Blues celebrated their first-ever Stanley Cup in the team’s franchise history.
“We were worried the Blues’ goalie would come back, and he did,” said a let-down Mike McHugh, 37, of Attleboro.
One fan was angry that the Black and Gold couldn’t beat the Blues in Game 7 on home ice. “I’m embarrassed, I’m hurt,” said Kerri Breen, 28, a restaurant manager from Mansfield.
Zdeno Chara, the injured Bruins captain “ . . . did not play with his jaw wired shut for them to lose 4-1. It was supposed to be our year and they just ruined it.”
At Boston Sports Grille on Canal Street, fans felt jittery soon after the puck dropped just after 8 p.m.
Maxine Leite, a 29-year-old project manager, buried her head in her hands each time the Blues scored in the first period to take a 2-0 lead.
“I’m going to have an ulcer by the time I finish this game,” she said.
Danielle Court, 33, couldn’t stop fidgeting her fingers. “Its been really frustrating, we just really need to score a goal,” said Court, who has been a fan since she was 7 years old.
But the B’s would not find the net until there was just over two minutes left in the game, when Charlestown’s Matt Grzelcyk scored. And soon the visiting Blues were celebrating at center ice.
Despite the disappointment, crowds behaved and there were no major problems reported as of 11:30 p.m., Boston Police said.
Across town, at the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Alex Casillas said he was hoping to bask in the glory of a Stanley Cup win, replete with the fanfare of a parade. By the Blues’ fourth goal, Casillas, a 23-year-old who had recently moved to Brighton from Maine, said he knew it wasn’t going to happen. “I was looking forward to being here and seeing everyone go crazy,” Casillas said.
Evan Faulkner, 21, of Coventry, Conn., tried hard not to jinx the Bruins. He said he attended two postseason games at TD Garden, where the Bruins had lost. So for the final, Faulkner decided, in vain, to keep his distance and attended the viewing party at Warrior.
“I’m bummed,” he said. “Maybe next year we’ll get them.”
Emily Day, a 24-year-old Brighton resident, said she’ll be very quiet at work Thursday. As Day left the arena, she said she started to process what the loss meant.
“I want to give all the Bruins hugs,” she said.
The disappointment contrasted starkly with the pre-game optimism.
At 7:20 p.m., about 300 fans had filed into the arena, but that didn’t stop hundreds of other anxious people from claiming a spot in a sprawling line — one that looped up a tall staircase and around a terrace.
For many, the prospects of simply standing in the arena for hours without a seat, surrounded by a boisterous crowd of fellow New Englanders, was enough.
As cars drove by, horns blared recklessly in camaraderie with the crowds, rousing cheers and shrieks in return.
In a Canal Street bar, Wally Biedron, a 31-year-old lifelong Boston fan, expressed both disappointment and optimism with the Bruins down, 2-0.
“I’m a realist, and they’re not playing their best hockey right now,” he said. “They’re doing well and I don’t know. I’m going to keep an open mind.”
He added, “We’re Boston. Win or lose, we still booze. We have a good time.”
Late in third period, with the Bruins down, the once-packed bar was mostly empty.