Not a single Bruins fan wanted to wake up on Thursday morning saying the same thing he or she did on Tuesday morning: "The Boston Bruins are one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals."
But, here we are, on the eve of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final, not 24 hours removed from a loss in Game 6, that, had they won, would have had the Bruins fueling up their private charter for Vancouver for the beginning of another best-of-seven on Monday night.
Instead, we all have to patiently wait another day. We have to sit and recap the missed opportunities on the Boston power play, the ineffective penalty killers who allowed the Bolts to capitalize on three of their four power plays and the endless mind games that both coaches are playing with one another's team.
We have to recap the history of the Bruins in the Claude Julien era in Game 7's. No one needs to be reminded of last year's semifinals against the Flyers. Prior to that, it was a similar heartbreak against Carolina — thank you, Scott Walker. And the year before that? The mystery of Carey Price proved too costly, as Boston forced a Game 7 and lost in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
But the Bruins aren't so bad all time in Game 7's. They are .500 with a 10-10 record. But in recent years, Bruins fans are too familiar with the outcome of the final game of the series.
However, the players themselves are trying to rid the negative thoughts and focus on the challenge at hand.
"You've got to be confident. You’ve got to believe," Milan Lucic said of his approach for Friday night's Game 7.
"You can't have any regrets. Everything's on the line. It's the chance to move on and play for something that you've been dreaming about as a kid your whole life. We're in a situation here that’s an exciting situation. We've got to have fun with it. Go out there and make the most of it."
This year's Bruins team knows a thing or two about bouncing back. This season, including the playoffs, the Bruins are 11-5-3 at the TD Garden after a loss. They outscored opponents 56-47 in those games.
With home-ice advantage, resiliency that has trademarked this year's team and the memories of the emotional Game 7 letdowns of the past, the Bruins are hoping these signs point to a win on Friday night.
"For almost all of us, it's the biggest game of our careers," Lucic said. "We've got to go out there, have fun, and have no regrets."
No regrets. No mistakes. Winner takes all.
Here we go again. Only this time, the Stanley Cup awaits.