Buffalo 3 – Boston 2 (SO)
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
BOSTON – The eyes of the sporting world were on Boston on Wednesday night. Two days after a tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon rocked this sports-mad city to its core, 17,565 people came together at the TD Garden for a sporting event that turned into a cathartic gathering of close friends.
The pre-game ceremony included an emotional video saluting Boston and those who survived Monday’s bombings, along with a moment of silence. It continued with the entire crowd singing the national anthem in unison, followed by deafening chants of “USA! USA!” and “We are Boston!” The night ended with the Sabres and Bruins gathering at center ice, raising their sticks together in an unprecedented show of support for the fans of this grief-stricken city.
In between was an exciting hockey game that resulted in a 3-2 shootout win for Buffalo, extending their winning streak to three games, and keeping their playoff hopes alive with just four games left to play.
Drew Stafford scored the shootout winner in the third round, after Cody Hodgson had tied the game up on the power play with just 27 seconds left in regulation. Thomas Vanek also scored for Buffalo, while Dan Paille and Chris Kelly replied for the Bruins.
Ryan Miller, who made 41 saves and stopped all three Boston shootout attempts to earn the win, said he was experiencing the same emotions as the fans throughout the pre-game ceremonies.
“As an American, and even just as a member of this society where we live and we’re free, you hate to see these things happen,” said the native of East Lansing, Mich. “It transcends what nationality you are, we’re all people. It was horrible to see all the people injured.
“The video right before we played was pretty emotional, pretty raw. I can’t imagine what everyone’s going through here, looking over their shoulder. I think the first responders, the people in the blast area, and everyone in this city has shown tremendous character. I wouldn’t expect anything less from an American city. It just shows how great our society can be when we step up. It’s unfortunate such a horrible event has to happen.”
Even after the opening faceoff and the playoff-type atmosphere in the building, Miller said it still took him a little time to get into the rhythm of the game.
“The first five minutes after that video, you’re just kinda like … the magnitude of what happened just hits you. Being in the city probably just a little bit more, because everybody has a story, and you’re seeing people affected by it. Again, our hearts go out to everyone that’s been affected because it’s terrible.”
This week’s events also added another element to the homecoming of rookie Brian Flynn, who was playing his first professional game in Boston after growing up in nearby Lynn, Massachusetts. With numerous friends and family in attendance, Flynn started the game for Buffalo, which also meant he was on the ice throughout the pre-game ceremonies.
“Everyone was singing along (to the anthem) and it gives you chills. I was just excited to play and put forth the great effort we had tonight,” said Flynn. “It was obviously very emotional. The crowd was going wild, and it really gets you going. I had to calm myself down because I was so excited for the puck to drop. But it was a great atmosphere and I’m happy a lot of people could come out and be part of it.”
KALETA REACHES 300
Patrick Kaleta played in his 300th career NHL game tonight, becoming the 67th Sabres player in franchise history to reach this milestone. The 26-year-old native of Angola, NY, played his first game in Buffalo on February 22, 2007, against the Ottawa Senators. Kaleta has 51 points (27+24) and 501 penalty minutes in his previous 299 games.
Ville Leino missed his ninth game with an upper body injury; he did not travel with the team to Boston… Luke Adam was returned to Rochester earlier in the day… Rookie Mikhail Grigorenko, who was recalled from Quebec (QMJHL) on Tuesday, was Buffalo’s only healthy scratch.
BUFFALO’S RECORD WHEN...
Opponent Scores First: 5-15-2
Tied After the First Period: 12-8-3
Trailing After the Second Period: 3-14-2
Outshot by an opponent: 15-13-2
Overall: 20/153, 13.1%
Road: 10/79, 12.6%
Overall: 131/167, 78.4%
Road: 76/96, 79.2%
* Friday vs. NY Rangers, 7 p.m.
* Saturday @ Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
* Monday vs. Winnipeg, 7 p.m.