The night began with the raising of the Bruins' 2010-11 championship banner. It ended with a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, leaving the champs with an 0-1 record to begin their title defense.
While the banner-raising ceremony is what the players will remember long after the outcome is forgotten, for now, the night has a slightly bittersweet feel.
"Yeah, of course,'' said forward Patrice Bergeron. "We wanted to get that win on a special night like tonight, but we couldn't do it."
The Bruins, perhaps riding a wave of energy from the pregame ceremony, took a 1-0 lead in the first period on Brad Marchand's goal. But the Flyers countered with a pair of goals -- by Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek -- within 47 seconds of each other in the second period, and goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, making his Flyers debut, made the score stand up with 22 saves.
"Those two goals kind of hurt us and put us back on our heels,'' said Bergeron. "I thought the first period, most of it was ours. We generated a lot of early chances, but those two goals hurt us. We didn't find a way to come back and we weren't playing our game in the second period. And in the third, I thought we had some good chances but we've got to find a way to score goals.''
The consensus in the locker room was that the pregame ceremony had a positive effect, if any at all, at the start of the game.
"Yeah I thought we had a pretty good start to the game. We were moving into it with making some plays and creating a lot of chances,'' said captain Zdeno Chara.
Added Tyler Seguin, who set up the Bruins lone goal, a first-period power-play tally by Brad Marchand: "The first half of the first period we were really taking it to them. The only problem I saw was we were just, just weren’t hitting the net, or getting pucks on net and then after that it just kind of went downhill a little bit."
Shawn Thornton said the Bruins had no choice but to put their game faces on after the emotion of watching the banner raised to the rafters.
"Well, you have to right?," he said. "Nothing’s easy, but if you want to be successful you do things that aren’t easy. We definitely -- we know we could have been better. As I said, the first fifteen minutes I thought we came out unbelievable. They capitalized on a couple of chances and we were battling uphill the rest of the way. We had a couple of opportunities to tie it up -- we didn’t. I think that’s the game pretty much in a nutshell."
While goalie Tim Thomas (27 saves) said it's important for the Bruins to earn a win soon, he said the night is obviously one that will always be cherished.
"That was a special moment,'' said Thomas of watching banner raised. "It was another one to add to the memory bank that you’ll remember forever. While it was happening I was picturing myself coming back and visiting for a game thirty years from now and looking and that banner and saying, 'We helped raised that banner.' "