“I’ve been watching the news all about it . . . people are still going to go [to games], and people are still going to be excited,’’ said Paille, who turned 29 the same day as the bombings. “It’s unfortunate that such an event like the marathon, that someone attacked it. But reading and seeing all the news, people are still excited for next year, and I support that completely. It’s unfortunate that someone had to do that, but I think it brings people closer together at times like this.’’
Paille’s goal delivered the 1-0 lead only 5:45 into the first. In the second period, his assist set up linemate Chris Kelly for the 2-1 lead at 14:48. The lead came only 19 seconds after the crowd, again at Martin’s cue, stood to salute a large group of first responders who attended the game as guests of the Bruins. Kelly the goal. First assist, Paille. Second assist, karma.
In the end, the Sabres squeezed out a 3-2 win in a shootout. Chants of “USA” rang out at night’s end, with full squads filling the ice to give the crowd a poignant stick salute.
“It’s a night I’ll never . . . ” said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron, choosing not to tack the word “forget” to his thought. “Well, I hope I don’t have to feel this way ever again because [of the] tragedy.”
The Bruins staged, played, and finished a hockey game on Causeway Street. It has been that way since the old Garden opened its doors on Nov. 20, 1928. It has been that way through a World War, Korea, Vietnam, natural catastrophes, flu epidemics, the polio era, one Great Depression, one Great Recession, the Cocoanut Grove fire, the Boston Strangler, and more.
And now . . . through terror dropped at our front door.
We are Boston. And Wednesday night showed we will be strong again.