Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bruins Fan Prove Boston Strong, While Bruins Clinch Playoff Spot in Shootout Loss

The boys are back.  Boston hosted its first sporting event since Monday's Marathon bombings in the form of a Bruins-Sabres game at the TD Garden, with Buffalo coming out on top after a 3-2 shootout win.  But the focus was not on the winner of Wednesday's game, rather the spectacle of the game itself.

On Monday, the Bruins players were all at the Garden for their game against the Senators before it was postponed due to the attack a few hours before puck drop.  With the players gathered, they had an opportunity to talk about what had transpired on Boylston Street and how they would react as a team.  Coming into Wednesday's contest, they knew what this city needed.

"The only thing we can do is play the game to give Boston something to be happy about," said B's center David Krejci.  "It's been an emotional last few days.  Just like everybody else, I had just one channel on the TV the last couple of days."

Before the game started, Boston had plenty to be happy and proud about.  A video tribute to the victims and first responders was shown, followed by Rene Rancourt and the Boston Fire Department Honor Guard entering the rink for the national anthem.  As you can see in the video above, Rancourt didn't have to do much singing as the Garden crowd was more than ready to show just how Boston Strong they were.

"I know its a tough time right now, we know that," said winger Brad Marchand.  "For them to come out and support us, to take their minds off everything for a couple of hours and come in tonight, we just wanted to say thanks.  We're thinking of everyone and they're in our thoughts and prayers."

The Bruins fought hard throughout the game, with Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly each notching a goal, but it was an Andrew Ference penalty with just under a minute in the third period that led to a Sabres power play goal that would tie things at 2-2 before the final horn.  Sabres goalie Ryan Miller stood tall, stopping all four attempts in the shootout, while Anton Khudobin stopped three before Drew Stafford slipped one in between the Bruins backstop's pads.

"It's emotional for me as well, as an American," said Miller.  "We like to play, but there are bigger things.  I think the way people have stepped up and tried to help, tried to do the right things, you can tell that this is only going to make us stronger."

The Bruins locked up a spot in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the point from the shootout loss, but just getting back to hockey in Boston was the most important thing on their minds.

"You feel that this is your home, that this is what you represent as a professional organization," head coach Claude Julien said.  "The first thing you want to do is help out, and you do the best you can.  We did that for Newtown, and I'll tell you what, there wasn't a better feeling than going there and trying to spread some joy and put smiles on some people's faces.

"Our goal is to do the same thing here with this city and everyone that was involved in this tragedy."

UPDATE: For those of you who cannot see the video above, here is another version on YouTube.

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