WILMINGTON — When the Bruins hosted 80 first-responders at Wednesday’s game, they thought they were simply providing a nice gesture as a way of thanking the brave bunch for all they had done for the city during Monday’s horrific events. They didn’t think they were making anybody’s day, but they were.
In meeting with the first-responders following their 3-2 shootout loss to the Sabres Wednesday, the Bruins were overwhelmed by their experience with the heroes and how proud they were to meet the B’s.
“They were very, very happy and excited that they came to the game and they really showed a lot of respect,” Brad Marchand  said Thursday. “It was funny — not funny, but a different feeling because they were thanking us when really we wanted to thank them for everything that they did for our city and for us and for everyone who was involved. It was honor meeting them and being able to meet those guys and hear their stories of how courageous they were in a moment like that.”
Marchand said it was more of an honor for the Bruins to spend time with the heroes than the other way around, but to be able to give them something to be smile about was touching for the players.
“They really expressed last night how big it was for them to come to the game and how excited they were from the moment they heard they were coming,” Marchand said. “Some of the guys were telling us how they found out and just how excited they were all day long or the day before, and it was all they could think about. They said that’s what they needed to kind of get their mind off things. They saw a lot of stuff. To be able to give that to them for them to enjoy and look forward to watching us play and just a few hours to watch us play and enjoy something, it’s huge for us. We take a lot of pride in that. Obviously, those guys are heroes and we look up to them. They did some courageous and amazing things. We owe them a lot.”
After the game, Andrew Ference  and some other players took the first-responders out for beers as a way of further thanking them for everything they had done. Though Dennis Seidenberg  didn’t join them (his children had to get up early), he wasn’t surprised to see how much the night meant to both sides.
“It’s a great sports town, Boston is,” Dennis Seidenberg  said. “People are very emotional about their sports. When you have a chance to give them the opportunity to come to a game and get their mind off what happened, it’s easy for us to do and something nice also.”