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By JIMMY GOLEN | Associated Press
BOSTON -- The Tampa Bay Lightning were already in Boston when the blizzard shut down the roads, trains and airports. The Bruins and all of the game officials were standing by, too.
But with a state of emergency still in effect through most of Massachusetts, public transportation shut down and the roads closed by a storm that dumped as much as a yard of snow on some areas, the NHL decided to postpone Saturday's game between the Lightning and the Bruins.
No makeup date had been scheduled, a process made more difficult by the lack of off-days in the compressed 48-game schedule that resulted from the lockout.
Several other professional teams were forced to rearrange their travel plans because of the storm, which stranded the Knicks in Minnesota and the Spurs in Detroit on Friday night. New York's airports reopened on Saturday, but Boston's Logan Airport remained closed into Saturday night as airlines canceled more than 5,300 flights.
The Knicks, who played the Timberwolves on Friday night, returned to New York on Saturday for their Sunday matinee against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Spurs, who ended their 11-game winning streak against the Pistons, play the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night.
The Nets took a train home instead of flying from Washington after losing to the Wizards on Friday night, posting a photo of the players boarding a train with the caption, "Backup plan." The Clippers arrived in New York as scheduled on Saturday.
At least five deaths were blamed on the storm, which dumped as much as 3 feet of snow in some parts of New England. More than 650,000 homes and businesses lost power, with some not expecting electricity to be restored for days. Wind gusts of over 80 mph were recorded.
By midday Saturday, the National Weather Service reported preliminary snowfall totals of 24.9 inches in Boston, short of the 27.1 inches that fell in the Blizzard of '78 that left hundreds attending the Beanpot college hockey tournament stuck at the old Boston Garden for days.
The Bruins said Saturday's game would be rescheduled as soon as a makeup date could be confirmed. The process is complicated because the Bruins share a building with the NBA's Celtics.
The Bruins and Lightning each already had road games scheduled for Sunday night.
Other games in the Northeast went on as scheduled.
A sellout crowd of 17,625 attended the Pittsburgh Penguins' game in New Jersey game less than 24 hours after a storm dropped more than a foot of snow in the area. The New York Islanders were slated to play at home against the Buffalo Sabres at 7 p.m.
Two Ivy League men's college basketball games that had been scheduled for Saturday night were moved back to Sunday because of treacherous travel conditions. Dartmouth will play at Cornell at noon on Sunday in Ithaca, N.Y., and Harvard will visit Columbia at 2 p.m. Sunday in New York.
Aqueduct also called off Saturday's card because of the storm. The track and Belmont Park were expected to remain open for wagering on out-of-town races, with racing scheduled to resume Sunday. Harness racing was canceled at Freehold Raceway in New Jersey.