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National Hockey League

Sabres edge Bruins as sports returns to Boston

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Sometimes sports takes a backseat to events in the greater world around us, but eventually the game goes on.

Just two days after the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon, the Boston Bruins were back on the ice in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.

It was the first major sports event in the city since the tragedy, as the Bruins had postponed their home game against Ottawa on Monday and the NBA's Boston Celtics had canceled their Tuesday night contest against the Indiana Pacers.

Before Wednesday's game, a moment of silence was held and several other events were staged at TD Garden to honor the victims and city, including longtime Boston singer Rene Rancourt leading the crowd in a rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner".

On the final attempt of the shootout, Drew Stafford buried a wrister past Anton Khudobin to give the Sabres a big two points in their attempt to get into the postseason.

Following the goal, both teams took to the ice and raised their sticks to the crowd in a final salute of the night.

Thomas Vanek and Cody Hodgson each scored a goal while Ryan Miller stopped 41 shots for the Sabres, who have won three straight and six of eight.

With 44 points, Buffalo sits just two back of the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets for the final spot in the Eastern Conference with four games to play. New York has six games left while Winnipeg has five and the Sabres host the Rangers on Friday.

Despite the loss, Boston clinched a playoff spot for a sixth straight season and also moved into a tie with Montreal for first place in the Northeast Division and second overall in the conference. Boston has a game in hand on Montreal, also.

Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille each posted a goal and an assist while Khudobin made 30 stops for the Bruins, who have dropped three straight for the first time this season.

Buffalo trailed by a goal late in the game, but got a power play when Andrew Ference was called for delay of game after flipping the puck over the glass and with Miller pulled, the team skated 6-on-4.

Holding the puck along the left boards, Vanek threw a pass out front that was tipped into the net by Hodgson to tie the game with 26.6 seconds to play.

Khudobin made five stops in overtime while Miller posted four saves to send the game to a shootout.

Boston scored 5:45 in when a centering pass from Kelly from the left corner was banged in by Paille, but the Sabres tied the game on the power play with 1:40 to play in the first as a Christian Ehrhoff shot from the high slot was tipped in by Vanek.

The Bruins took a 2-1 lead with 5:12 to play in the second after Kelly flipped the puck over a prone Miller for his third of the year.

Game Notes

Boston welcomed back Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, both of whom had been out with concussions ... Boston hosts Pittsburgh on Friday ... Buffalo took three of the five games against Boston this season ... Buffalo was 2-for-6 on the power play while Boston failed in its two chances.

04/17 22:56:58 ET

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