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The Sabres won in the shootout, but Bruins earned one point for the overtime loss _ enough to clinch a playoff spot. After the game, the players came off the bench and went to center ice, raising their sticks to the fans, who began another “U.S.A.!” chant.

“I am sure the score will be the last thing I think about in 10 years,” Bruins forward Chris Kelley said afterward in the team’s dressing room, where a jersey reading “Boston 617 Strong” hung in the locker belonging to forward _ and Boston University graduate _ Jay Pandolfo.

“We wanted to win the hockey game for the city and ourselves. We had a chance to do something _ it might be a small thing, but something _ that would put a smile on a few peoples’ faces. That’s the reason why all of us wanted to go out there and win.”

Cars were searched inside and out before entering the arena’s underground garage, with guards using a mirror on a pole to check the undercarriage. Fans were waved with a metal-detecting wand when entering the arena.

Pandolfo said at the morning skate that the added security reminded him of the Sept. 11 attacks. He was playing in the New York area, for the New Jersey Devils, at the time.

“It brings back memories you don’t want,” he said. “It’s something you don’t want to think about. You want to go ahead with your life. You don’t want to live in fear.”