It was a night full of emotions.
It was a night where the result was secondary. It was a night where the Boston Bruins – despite falling to the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout by the final of 3-2 – clinched their sixth straight appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It was a night that started with a “Boston Strong” video montage. It was a night where Rene Rancourt gave the sellout crowd of 17,565 at the TD Garden the honor of singing the “Star Spangled Banner” after the first few lyrics. It was a night where the traditional “Let’s go Bruins” chants were replaced with “Let’s go Boston” and “We are Boston”. It was a night where the firefighters, policemen and first responders were honored for the courageous efforts during the “8-spoked salute”.
More importantly, it was a night to help the city of Boston to continue its healing process from the tragic bombings from the Boston Marathon that killed three, including an 8-year old boy, and severely injured many others.
“I’m proud of this city for how they responded tonight,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It was pretty emotional and made you feel proud of this city and fan, and the solidarity throughout the night.”
“It was something pretty special,” said forward Chris Kelly, who had a goal and an assist. “I thought they did a great job with that tribute video, and obviously the fans and the anthem were incredible. Obviously, something really special.”
Certainly, the Bruins were looking for a ‘W’ to send their fans home happy. And while they lost to their Northeast Division rivals in deflating fashion, the Black and Gold’s message is still the same to their fellow Bostonians.
“It was one of those games that you wanted to get not only for the team, but the city,” said forward Patrice Bergeron, who returned to the ice after missing the last two weeks with a concussion. “We felt the fans deserved it tonight, and its hard to feel like a winner tonight, but the city is a winner tonight, that’s for sure.”
“Yeah, it sucks. I think everybody wants to give somebody a positive feeling out there on the rink tonight,” defenseman Andrew Ference added. “I think, everybody, like I said knows that it was bigger than just the game. I think that it was still positive in the way that we had the event and we had cheering and we had people out and about having a good time. To get a win, we wanted it so bad. I think you still take the good from the night.”
It was a night where Boston showed its strength. It was a night where Bostonians came together in the city’s first sporting event since the Marathon Tragedy. It was a night that ended with the Bruins and Sabres gathering at center ice after Drew Stafford’s shootout winner
Above all, it was a night to remember.
Here’s postgame video from Wednesday’s contest featuring Bergeron, Marchand and Ference