The Boston Bruins played the Buffalo Sabres last night in the city's first major sporting event since Monday's bombing of the Boston Marathon.

But the game itself was an afterthought following the touching tribute to resilience that took place during pre-game singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

In a move that will no doubt become emblematic of the city's recovery in the wake of this week's tragic events, the Bruins longtime national anthem singer Rene Rancourt lowered his microphone partway through the song and turned instead to lead 17,565 hockey fans as they sang the anthem in unison.

"Being out here today, the energy from the crowd, it's as though your tears turn into joy," said David Blaides, commander of the Boston Fire Department Honor Guard. "It was fulfilling being out there today."

[photo via @NHLBruins, video via NHL]