Northeastern University's graduation ceremony were taking over the TD Garden in the hours leading up to Game 4 Friday of the Eastern Conference semifinal.
While hundreds of students will be recognized for what they've learned over the past four years, a few hours later, starting at 8 p.m., we'll find out what the Boston Bruins have learned during the past year.
Have the Bruins learned what it takes to close out a 3-0 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers?
The betting is yes, but the Flyers know the kind of crisis in confidence they could set off in Boston with a win in Game 4 after coming back from the same disadvantage last spring.
"For sure. I think just one win will give us confidence and make them think about what happened last year," Flyers forward Claude Giroux said. "Just one win will put us back in the mix. Then we can go back in front of our fans and I have no doubt we can win.
"We did it last year, so why not two years in a row?"
Well, there is the fact that last year, the first three games were more competitive than this year's. Also, the Bruins are a much different team. They've won Games 1 and 3 going away and found a way to win Game 2 in overtime, thwarting the Flyers' best effort in the series so far.
The Flyers showed up at the TD Garden in a surly mood Thursday after getting outworked and out-hit in a 5-1 loss in Game 3.
"Everybody was pissed off this morning," defenceman Timmo Kimonen said Thursday. "It was a tough morning. Down 3-0, we're not where we wanted to be this time of year. There are ups and downs and this is a down moment for our team, but as long as there are games, there is a chance. We make sure we bring everything we've got and see what happens."
Maybe the Flyers want to try bringing some of that emotion at game time?
"I think we need more fire in our eyes than we showed in Game 3," Flyers forward Daniel Briere said. "It was tough this morning coming to the rink. We had a similar speech from (coach) Peter (Laviolette) that fired us up last year. I really believe the guys are going to leave it all out on the ice (Friday)."
The Flyers were thoroughly outclassed in Game 3 and Timonen said there wasn't much the club could take out of the experience.
"We got 38 shots but I don't think, other than that, there's anything positive," he said. "The only thing we can do now is look at the one game. We can't look at the big picture. We have to bring our skating and forechecking and be aggressive (Friday) and that's our game. If we're able to do that, I think we're in good shape."
Laviolette wouldn't reveal his starting goaltender -- there have been four goaltending switches already in this series for the Flyers -- but the betting is Sergei Bobrovsky, who came in for Brian Boucher in Game 3, will get the start.