On the most emotional hockey night imaginable, the Boston Bruins were on their way to a win after 59 minutes and 30 seconds of play – only to have Cody Hodgson, of the Buffalo Sabres, score with 26.6 seconds to play to tie the game 2-2 and Drew Stafford to score on a shootout to send Boston to defeat 3-2. The one point for going to overtime clinched the playoffs and Montreal’s loss to to the top Eastern team, Pittsburgh, moved the Bruins from a fourth seed (at least one home series) to a two seed (at least two potential home series) as shown by the Northeast standings:
|2||Boston||42||26||11||5||57||Pit, Fla, @Phi, TB, @Wash, Ott|
|4||Montréal||43||26||12||5||57||TB, Wash, @NJ, @Wpg, @Tor|
|5||Toronto||43||24||14||5||53||NYI, @Ott, @TB, @Fla, Mtl|
|6||Ottawa||42||22||14||6||50||Wash, Tor, Pit, @Wash, Phi|
|Buffalo||44||19||19||6||44||NYR, @Pit, Wpg, NYI|
As reported earlier in the day, security was heightened for the first sporting event since the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The game against Ottawa that would have been played that night has been moved to Sunday, April 28, a day after the regular season ends for all other teams, so the Bruins can use that game in their fight to win the Northeast Division. The division boasts the four best Eastern Conference teams besides Pittsburgh, but the 3-seed is reserved for the Southeastern Division champion, so the winner of the Northeast will almost certainly get the 2-seed with the next best team in the division dropping to the 4-seed.
The Boston fans watched a slideshow of scenes from the Boston Marathon, and then were finally able to erupt just over five minutes into the game when Bruin Daniel Paille scored to make it 1-0. Chris Kelly gave them a second chance to cheer when he put Boston up 2-1 14:48 into the second period. While the did not win, both goals were important as without them both the Bruins would have fallen and dropped behind Montreal into fourth in the conference and only three points ahead of Toronto.
Dropping behind both teams would cost Boston home ice advantage in the opening round, but with an extra game left due to the Ottawa reschedule, they have an edge despite being tied in points (the tie-breaker is fewest games played just in case any team ended up uneven due to the strike shortened season).
For the AP account of the game, click here.