VANCOUVER -- The City of Vancouver is at a fever pitch as the puck drop on Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final approaches. 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.
It's expected as many as 100,000 people will descend on the downtown core for tonight's game.
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."