The sport returned to the city Saturday, a day after a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was captured, and the fans welcomed their Bruins back with cheers and greeted the Pittsburgh Penguins with jeers.
The Penguins clinched home-ice advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 3-2 win in the Bruins' second game since the bombings. It had been postponed from Friday night because of the manhunt. The mood was more sombre Wednesday night in another 3-2 loss at home in a shootout to the Buffalo Sabres.
"It was a little more of a celebration with everyone here, more of an opportunity for us to thank (police) and give our respects for the amazing job they did," Boston's Brad Marchand said. "It just seems like there's a whole different aura around the building. ... Everyone was a little more safe and excited that it's over."
One suspect was shot to death early Friday and the other was captured Friday night hiding under a tarp in a boat in a backyard in nearby Watertown.
A pregame slideshow on the video board above centre ice showed pictures of smiling policemen after the second suspect was taken into custody. Also shown were individual photos of Lu Lingzi, Krystle Campbell and Martin Richard, who were killed in Monday's bombings, and Sean Collier, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer shot to death by the suspects.
"Any human being would find some type of emotion in that pregame video and the memory when they're showing the victims," Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik said.
During the game, a fan held up an "MIT" pennant.
Before Wednesday's game, a video was shown of scenes after the bombings near the finish line. And, like Wednesday, veteran Bruins vocalist Rene Rancourt started the national anthem then gestured for the fans to join him — and they did, loudly and emotionally.
"We felt the same way as last game with the ceremony and, again, with all the police and fireman and everything in the building," Marchand said. "It was a special time again, and we definitely built a lot of momentum off of that."
The postponement was the second of the week for the Bruins. Their game against the Ottawa Senators last Monday night, scheduled to start about four hours after the bombings, was rescheduled for April 28.
Before the game, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wore a black T-shirt with the words "BOSTON STRONG" over his shirt and tie. Penguins players also wore them before the game.
"Everyone was proud to wear them," Orpik said.
During warmups, Bruins players wore baseball caps of the state police and Boston and Watertown police departments. The black cap for Watertown, where the suspect was taken into custody, had the Bruins "Spiked B" logo on the front and the word "STRONG" on the back.
The Penguins took a nine-point lead in the Eastern Conference over Montreal, which could get only eight more points in its remaining four games. The Bruins remained in fourth place with 57 points, 11 behind the Penguins, with five games to go.
"These types of races usually come down to the last game, last two games," Bylsma said, "and to be able to clinch the division and now clinch the conference this early says a lot for our team and how we've played through this shortened season with different types of injuries."
Pittsburgh won its sixth straight game despite the continued absence of some top offensive players. NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby missed his eighth game with a broken jaw, James Neal sat out his fifth because of a concussion and last season's NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin was sidelined for his third with a shoulder injury.
With the score 1-1 on goals by Marchand in the first period and Pittsburgh's Jussi Jokinen in the second, the Penguins got two power-play goals in 4 minutes. Tyler Seguin scored the final goal for the Bruins with 2.6 seconds remaining.
Iginla, nearly traded to Boston three weeks ago, played his first game against the Bruins since he was dealt by Calgary to Pittsburgh on March 28.
He was booed every time he touched the puck during a third-period power play. The jeers grew louder after he scored on a 50-foot shot from the centre of the blue line as Chris Kunitz screened goalie Tuukka Rask.
"I guess I'd be prepared for that. I can understand that the fans wouldn't be too happy" that he decided to go to Pittsburgh instead of Boston, Iginla said.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli had been upset when his deal for Iginla fell through. The player had a no-trade clause and waived it to go to Pittsburgh instead of Boston.
Iginla's 12th goal of the season came went through Rask's legs at 4::43 of the third.
"Not too often I cost a game," he said. "Today I did."
Kris Letang scored on another power play against the NHL's top penalty-killing team at 8:29.
Marchand's opening goal at 10:18 of the first period was his team-leading 17th and also came on a power play. Zdeno Chara carried the puck into centre ice and passed to Marchand on the left. Marchand then sped between two Penguins in the left circle and beat goalie Tomas Vokoun from 15 feet at 10:18.
The Penguins tied it on Jokinen's 10th goal at 5:10 of the second period. With the puck loose in front of the net, Rask stretched to his left but Jokinen lifted it above the goalie's glove.
Notes: Center Carl Soderberg, signed to a three-year contract after leading the Swedish Elite League in goals this season, played his first game for the Bruins. ... The Penguins won their sixth straight game in Boston ... Bruins LW Milan Lucic was a healthy scratch after scoring two goals in 27 games. ... The Bruins had a sellout crowd of 17,565 for the 150th consecutive game, including the post-season. ... Boston began a season-ending stretch of six games in nine days. ... Bylsma said G Marc-Andre Fleury will play three of the remaining four regular-season games.