Bruins Fans Shower Milan Lucic with a Roaring Ovation after Video Tribute

A little fan love for Milan Lucic was the loudest TD Garden has been all season.

Bruins fans didn’t have to wait long to pay their respects to Milan Lucic in his return to T.D. Garden Tuesday night.

Midway through the first period, the Bruins played a video tribute for Lucic, who scored one goal in the Los Angeles Kings’ decisive 9-2 victory. Given the lopsided final score, it was the only moment of the evening worth cheering for the Bruins faithful—and their reaction didn’t disappoint.

Bruins fans were largely quiet for the remainder of the night, as the Kings outscored them 7-1 in the final two periods. Los Angeles recorded a season-high 57 shots on net, which is the most an opponent has fired off against the Bruins since 1965.

Lucic, 27, added to the scoring in the third period, when he knocked in a rebound goal off Anze Kopitar’s shot. It was a reminder of the bruising presence at the wing the Bruins have missed all season long.

After an eight-year stint in Boston, the Bruins shipped Lucic to the Kings last summer in exchange for a first-round pick, defenseman Colin Miller, and goaltender Martin Jones. It was part of a large-scale retooling effort last summer, which also included the team trading Dougie Hamilton and signing a number of veteran free agents.

Though Lucic’s act may have gotten stale last season—he only recorded 44 points in 81 games—he was an integral part of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup runs in 2011 and 2013. He came up with Boston during the 2007-08 season, when the Bruins were thirsting for relevancy amidst the championship success of the Patriots, Red Sox, and Celtics.

During Lucic’s time in Boston, the Bruins didn’t just win their first championship in 39 years. They started mattering in this city again, which Lucic reflected on in his first-person essay about Boston that was published on the Players’ Tribune Monday.

“We were still years away from the Stanley Cup, but those first few seasons, you could feel the atmosphere around the team changing,” Lucic wrote. “We were saved by the $10 Student Section. Those rowdy kids in Section 308 showed up every Tuesday night and went nuts. Props to Section 308. But by the end of that season, we were packing the place again. You could feel something special coming together.”

The Bruins lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the first-round of the 2008 playoffs, but they managed to take the series to seven games. They won the Cup three years later, with Lucic scoring a career-high 30 goals during the 2010-11 campaign. He accumulated 139 goals and 203 assists for 342 points in 566 regular-season games with the B’s.

Few Bruins fans were left in attendance by the end of Tuesday night’s debacle, but those who were caught an extra glimpse of Lucic. He skated around the Garden ice one last time before filing into the locker room with the rest of his teammates.

“I didn’t have it planned. A couple of teammates told me to go out and do it,” Lucic said about his postgame skate, via ESPN. “I can’t thank (the fans) enough for making tonight a special night for me in my return.”

It was a night worth forgetting for the Bruins, who suffered their most lopsided defeat since 2008. But it was a night Lucic will probably always remember.