BOSTON — The Bruins were the first professional sports team in Boston to play a home game following the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon. After their game with Ottawa was postponed on Monday night (to April 28), the B’s hosted the Sabres at TD Garden on Wednesday night and for once, the contest itself took a backseat to the event (Buffalo won 3-2 in a shootout).
From the pregame warm-ups featuring “Boston Strong” ribbons projected on the ice to the national anthem by Rene Rancourt that turned into a group sing-along, it truly was a night that the 17,565 people in attendance and countless media will never forget.
“Tough to keep a dry eye after the memorial on the big screen and seeing the crowd,” admitted Bruins forward Shawn Thornton. “It was great to see everyone rally around each other.”
There was a moment of silence before the anthem then a montage of still pictures from Monday’s Marathon. The Bruins’ official Twitter account tweeted out pictures of the 617 and Boston Marathon stickers placed on their helmets this morning. In addition, they had a Bruins jersey with the words “Boston Strong” printed on the back hanging up in the dressing room, similar to what the Red Sox have done. In the second period, a large group of first responders got a long and much deserved standing ovation.
“It just showed that everyone is united and coming together which is what we need to do,” added Bruins forward Brad Marchand. “It was extremely emotional but we’re helping each other get through it.”
Those lucky enough to have a ticket to this memorable game did their part by starting up “Let’s Go Boston” and “We Are Boston” chants early on, with a “We Love Boston” later on. During one of the commercial breaks in the first period, the Garden public address announcer Jim Martin implored people that ran in the Marathon on Monday to stand, followed by people who had ever run in it and finally anyone who had gone to watch it. The point well taken was that “we are all the Boston Marathon.”
“Our main goal was to play well for the cause,” noted Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “We should be grateful to a lot of people (the first responders) and also feel for others. This wasn’t a one night thing, we need to bring that energy every night.”
There is no manual for how to grieve or go about daily life after a horrific tragedy like this happens in our backyard. Being at the Garden showed why we all have been so proud of the city and region’s immediate response following the bombings: Boston is a special place that we love and we all want to do our part to make it better every day, even if truthfully it will never quite be the same.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate