As Game 7 ended, Toronto’s Maple Leaf Square was silent. Several people dropped to their knees. Others blinked away tears.
“They tried really hard. That’s the disappointing part,” Nicole Boyd said through tears about the Toronto Maple Leafs’ heartbreaking, 5-4 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins.
“It just sucks that they were ahead. We all thought they were going to win.”
Ms. Boyd, 25, came to Toronto from Niagara Falls to watch the Leafs play. She was hoping for a happier ending.
“Nine years,” Ms. Boyd moaned.
The shock on faces after the game was in stark contrast to how it started. Some fans arrived at the square in the early afternoon full of high spirits, sure they would leave with another victory.
Every goal the Leafs scored was met with deafening roars, confetti and chants. “Go Leafs Go,” the fans screamed. Even when the Bruins scored their second goal. And their third. And finally their fourth.
There was never any doubt these fans thought their team could pull though.
“We had that game going into third,” Raju Mehta said. “But I can’t blame anyone. We played well but just wasn’t in the cards today.”
Mr. Mehta said he hasn’t missed a game all season and he, like many other fans tonight, is happy for his team about how far they did get.
“No one predicted Game 7 against Boston at the start of the season so I’m proud of the team,” he said.
The mood that started so high fell rapidly as the teams went into overtime. “This is insane,” one fan kept repeating. “This is just insane.”
One thing many Leafs fans showed Monday night was an unwavering optimism.
“We’re proud of the team,” Ms. Boyd said. “They’re going to come back next year.”
Many fans said they were disappointed, but also that they would take Monday’s game as an accomplishment, and a learning experience.
“You have to feel good. Nobody thought we’d take it to seven,” Luke Attard said.
“The Bruins are a good team; you can’t be upset about this. We’ll take this, we’ll learn,we’ll make some changes hopefully.”