“We represent the city of Boston and we want to make sure we represent them well. All you can do is go out there and give it all you’ve got. Whether it gives a little bit of joy, or excitement to some people, it’s going to take a while to heal from this, and we don’t expect tomorrow to be the day that everything’s going to be OK, but you’ve got to start somewhere and tomorrow’s a great time for us to go out there and play our hearts out for all the right reasons.” Coach Claude Julien on his thoughts for tonight’s game.
The Boston Bruins (26-11-4) were home tonight against the Buffalo Sabres (18-19-6). If you could imagine how much energy was going to be in the TD Garden tonight, you would have needed to multiply it by a factor of five. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the National Anthem. I’ve seen it twice, and a half hour afterwards, I’m still a mess. “It was extremely emotional,” Brad Marchand said. “I was fighting back tears.” Watching players like Andrew Ference and Shawn Thornton sing, and I mean sing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’. (They are both native Canadians, but they have made Boston a home for themselves and their families.)
Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly had multi point games tonight. Both got a goal (with Kelly’s being his 100th career goal), and the assist on the other’s goal. Dan Paille played like a man possessed on the PK in the later periods. Frankly, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get the NESN 7th Player Award. (I only voted for him like a dozen times, personally.)
The Bad News: The Bruins dropped their third in a row. After holding on to the lead for the majority of the game, an Andrew Ference interference penalty (It’s a pity, especially with the amazing game he played tonight.) led to the Buffalo Sabres getting a power play goal by Cody Hodgson with twenty seven seconds left in regulation and tied the game at two all. Drew Stafford got the last shot in the shootout past Anton Khudobin to seal the deal for the Sabres, and give them two desperately needed points in an attempt to salvage the eighth seed in the conference.
The Good News: The Black and Gold clinched their postseason berth for the sixth straight season and pulled even in points with Montreal atop the Northeast Division. The Bruins are a game up on the Canadiens, and it’s likely to be a photo finish. At this point, it’s safe to say that the best the Bruins can hope for is to win the division (for the last time, as the new division rules will take effect at the start of next season), since the Pittsburg Penguins have a commanding nine point lead with just six games left to play. The B’s next game is also at home against the Penguins on Friday.
The Amazing News: Since I’ve become a hockey fan, I always thought that the Buffalo Sabres and their fans were some of the nicest people you could disagree about hockey with. Tonight the team and the fans proved it. The Sabres all donned the blue and yellow ‘Boston Strong’ decals on their helmets. After they pulled out the shootout win, they went on the ice with the Bruins to share a salute to the 18,000 fans who went through an extensive security process to get to watch the game. The Sabres showed that they were a first-class organization. Sabres fans in kind had grafted various Bruins symbols into their jerseys in solidarity.
Ryan Miller, who won the game for Buffalo with forty one saves, commented on the mutual salute after the game. “Obviously, we’re more than open to something like that, It’s a game more about coming together and giving people here something a bit more normal today. I’m proud to be a part of it and just wanted to give a simple salute.” (Miller was part of the US Olympic hockey team in 2010.)
In the end, the Bruins lost a game. In the end, the city of Boston won the game.