BOSTON — It's one of the strangest sounds in professional sports.
A standing-room-only stadium, with 17,565 people, are speechless while you can clearly hear the shouts and grunts of 25 men celebrating.
It's called stunned silence.
The Boston Bruins season is over after their 2-1 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals.
Heck, it seems like it just started.
As the media first entered the Bruins locker room, only four players were there. Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and David Krejci, arguably the best of the best on the Bruins, were all sitting in front of their locker stalls staring ahead.
More stunned silence.
"I honestly don't know how to feel," said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, one of the team's unsung stars. "I mean, it's over. There is no practice tomorrow. Nothing. I am not ready for this feeling."
Seidenberg speaks for several million of us.
While the never-say-die Capitals were gritty from the opening faceoff of the first game two weeks ago, they were not supposed to beat the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Most, if not all, of the history of this Capitals' franchise is filled with underachievement and bad endings.
These Bruins were embarking on some history. They were trying, really hard at times, to repeat their incredible performance from a year ago.
And, let's be honest, everything appeared to be in place. They were playing another tough, seven-game series, in overtime. It would be a nice tuneup for either Philadelphia or Florida.
But instead, in overtime, Bergeron whiffs on a bouncing puck with a wide open net. Less than 30 seconds later, the Bruins try to dump the puck down their end and hit a player leaving the ice. Like a blur, it quickly turns into a two-on-one, with two Caps fourth-liners getting shots on Thomas, the second of which goes in.
"I didn't even see the shot by (Joel) Ward," said Thomas.
Was the difference between last year and this year, luck. Good last year and bad this year?
"There is a fine line between winning and losing," said Seidenberg. "Last year, if that goal gets past Timmy (in Game 5, in OT), maybe we don't win it all. I don't know. It just seems like we didn't get a lot of bounces in these playoffs. But who knows? Maybe you make your own bounces."
In the end, the Bruins were outscored by the Caps, 16-15, with every game decided by one goal.
Sure they beat the Caps three times, but they never could put them away, like they did so often in big games last playoff season.
"I don't know if you'll ever see that again," said Caps head coach Dale Hunter of the seven games decided by one goal. "That's incredible. It shows how even this series was."
Sure it does. It was even. But it doesn't ease the pain up here in New England.
Winning a Stanley Cup is very difficult. Winning a Stanley Cup in consecutive years is, well, a lot tougher than we figured. This marks the 13th consecutive season there will be a new champion hoisting the Stanley Cup in mid-June.
Heck, the greatest player in Bruins history, Bobby Orr, "only" won two Stanley Cups, failing twice at winning back-to-back Cups.
"We had a lot of adversity this year, throughout the season," said Chara. "We showed a lot of guts. We played hard. We just didn't have it in the end. We just didn't have it."