In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Boston Bruins will try to help the city forget about the tragic events for at least a few hours.
Two days after their game was postponed following the explosions, the Bruins return to the ice to host the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.
Boston (26-11-4) was scheduled to meet Ottawa on Monday night at TD Garden, but the NHL postponed that game after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon earlier in the day, killing three people and injuring more than 170.
The league said it "wishes to express its sympathy to all affected by the tragic events that took place in Boston earlier this afternoon."
The Bruins now get back to the business of hockey, and they have plenty to play for. Along with trying to help a wounded city heal, Boston is on the verge of securing a playoff spot and sits one point behind Northeast Division-leading Montreal.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs expressed his sympathies to victims of the bombings in a statement released on the team's website.
"I have no doubt that the amazing people in Boston will continue to display great strength and resiliency," Jacobs said. "We will be there to offer our support in any way that we can in the wake of this tragedy."
The Bruins will be looking to avoid a third straight loss after falling 4-2 at Carolina on Saturday. The Hurricanes entered the game on a seven-game skid, but Boston allowed them to score twice on the power play after killing 17 of 18 penalties in its previous seven games.
"We had some brain cramps out there," coach Claude Julien said. "The mistakes we made were not helpful - two power-play goals. Those are things we're dealing with right now."
Buffalo (18-19-6) is dealing with trying to move into the top eight in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres have won two straight and five of seven as they make a late-season playoff push.
On Tuesday, though, that talk was placed on the backburner as players and Sabres officials were instead expressing sorrow, sympathy and dismay in the wake of the tragic events.
"Life's way more important than hockey," forward Nathan Gerbe said. "I think everyone in the world feels their pain. It's heartbreaking."
And Gerbe, who played at Boston College, acknowledged he's "a little nervous" about traveling to Boston.
"You're worried because they don't know exactly why and how and who," Gerbe said. "I don't know if I'm going to go out walking in the city or not. I'll probably just stay in the hotel and chill."
General manager Darcy Regier had no concerns, and expects a heightened security presence in the city and at the arena.
"Obviously, it affects all of us, and it's tragic and horrific. But no, I don't have reservations. You just move forward," Regier said. "It's going to be pretty difficult not to think about what happened, obviously. But ultimately, we're there to play a hockey game and focus on winning a game."
Sabres forward Steve Ott expects there to be a somber mood inside the arena.
"Obviously, it's going to be a little bit overwhelming to start the game with heavy hearts," Ott said. "But we're going to go out there and try to play our hardest for the people, and at least try to put some smiles on the faces for at least a couple of hours, anyhow."
These teams have split four meetings this season, with Buffalo winning 7-4 in the only matchup in Boston on Jan. 31 as Thomas Vanek had three goals and two assists.