The Sabres Observer
by @DaveDavisHockey on 04/18/13 at 10:50 AM ET
When Milan Lucic peeled away from Patrick Kaleta, passing up a golden opportunity for a vicious check on the Sabres agitator into the sidewall early in the first period of last night’s 3-2 Buffalo shootout win over the Bruins, you knew even strictly from a hockey sense that this game was different.
Unlike as prognosticated, TD Garden wasn’t a hornet’s nest or bear’s den. The Sabres weren’t destined, as hinted during pregame by Pierre McGuire, to play the role of the Washington Generals.
Boston didn’t need the win, but they needed the game.
Last night had little to do with the necessity and inevitability of the Bruins showcasing the spirit of their city by mercilessly running roughshod over the Sabres.
It had everything to do with eight-year-old Bruins fan Martin Richard, Medford native Krystle Campbell, graduate student Lu Lingzi, and the more than 170 innocent people who were injured from the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference, whose wife and young daughters were walking down Boylston Street at the time of the explosions, mentioned that players were holding back tears during the emotional introductory video, the unforgettable anthem performance by Rene Rancourt and 17,565 of his friends, and even the first few shifts of the game.
Brad Marchand wasn’t in Ryan Miller’s face, and Steve Ott wasn’t chirping up a storm. This game was meant to be the beginning of a return to normalcy for fans in Boston and everywhere.
Given the normalcy of their defensive zone giveaways and reliance on their franchise goaltender to steal games, the Sabres were certainly willing to oblige. There was a 17-minute span where the Bruins held a 20-5 shot advantage. You had to wonder if Buffalo realized it was OK to try to win.
But Miller kept them in the game, Cody Hodgson tied it with 26 seconds left in regulation, and Drew Stafford put home the winner in the shootout.
How the Sabres will follow up that memorable evening is anyone’s guess.
Notwithstanding last night’s beautiful statement made by the Bruins and the NHL, perhaps the affirmation that hockey games are of little importance in the grand scheme of life will take the pressure off as this Buffalo team, coming home with heavy hearts and lasting memories, tries running the table to sneak into the playoffs.
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About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]