A moment of silence, followed by a series of tributes, took place prior to the Sabres-Bruins game, which eventually saw Boston become the fourth team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff spot.
The Bruins needed only one point to wrap up their sixth straight trip to the postseason and that was all they got after Stafford scored in the third round of the shootout.
After Stafford's goal, players from both sides raised their sticks to the crowd in a special salute.
Buffalo moved within two points of the New York Rangers and Winnipeg for the last playoff spot in the East. Ryan Miller made 41 saves for the Sabres, who have won six of eight.
Anton Khudobin gave up the game-winning shootout goal and was credited with 30 saves. Boston has lost three in a row for the first time this season.