For the first time since the Boston Bruins laid claim to the Stanley Cup, the hockey world was focused on Boston. Unfortunately this time it was not due to the joy of winning the Stanley Cup, but instead the agony of tragedy.
After the events that took place on Monday at the Boston Marathon, the city of Boston was in shock. The city was struck with tragedy but banded together to face adversity in the eye and rebound. Wednesday night’s game between the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins was more than just a hockey game. It was more than two teams battling for the playoffs and it was deeper than any divisional rivalry.
The game was an escape and a chance for the city of Boston to heal. It was crucial to send a message that whoever attacked wouldn’t win and Boston wouldn’t be defeated.
On Wednesday night you can’t deny that there was part of you that was rooting for Boston. While the game itself was the Boston Bruins vs. the Buffalo Sabres, the Sabres were taking on the whole city of Boston.
The rivalry between the two teams mattered not. It was about two American hockey teams coming together to play and entertain the city of Boston after the tragedy. The game on Wednesday not only brought the entire city of Boston together, but also brought the United States of American together with Boston.
Milan Lucic passed up a perfect opportunity to nail Patrick Kaleta early in the first period. From that moment on you knew this game wasn’t about the Bruins trying to beat up or intimidate the Sabres, it was about the city. Brad Marchand wasn’t bothering Ryan Miller and Steve Ott who usually is full of chirps had nothing to say during the game.
Steve Ott said it best after the game;
“We were all playing for Boston tonight.”
The two teams came together to help the city of Boston return to normal. There was a period in time when the shots were 20-5 in favour of the Bruins. The Sabres wanted them to have their moment with their fans.
One of the most chilling moments was the national anthem. Anthem singer Rene Rancourt stopped singing and instructed the sold out TD Garden faithful to continue singing the anthem. It was a moment that sent chills to everyone, as the 17,000+ fans sang loud and proud their national anthem. Not only were the fans singing but many of the players on both the Bruins and Sabres also sang along. At that moment you knew that everyone there was supporting Boston.
Throughout the game you heard chants of USA- USA or Go Boston (instead of Go Bruins). It was incredible to hear the fans not only cheering on their hockey team but also their city and country.
After the game both teams skated to centre ice to salute the sold out TD Garden fans. A move organized by Bruins’ Zdeno Chara and Sabres’ Thomas Vanek to show respect to the people of Boston. It’s extremely rare to see both teams stand at centre ice and salute the crowd and a very classy move by both teams.
Many Sabres and Bruins players embraced at centre ice to show their support for each other and the city. That final gesture showing that everyone on the ice was playing for Boston.
The game couldn’t have ended any better for either side. The Buffalo Sabres picked up a huge 2 points that moved them to within 2 points of the final playoff spot and kept their slim playoff chances alive. With the point the Bruins picked up they managed to clinch a playoff birth.