A memorable night for Milan Lucic; A night to forget for Bruins
Of all the former Bruins from the 2011 Stanley Cup team that have not received their tribute, Milan Lucic is one of the last names — for the time being — to be checked off the list following his emotional return to TD Garden.
Coming back to Boston since being traded in the off-season, Lucic experienced a range of emotions in the hours leading up to Tuesday night’s contest on Causeway Street.
Lucic’s emotions got even deeper during warmups with a hoard of fans hovering over the visiting bench in their first look of Lucic in the Kings’ new gold and purple uniforms as part of their 50th anniversary celebration. As the puck dropped, the emotions continued.
By the time Lucic got his video tribute during the second TV timeout, it sunk in. Another sellout crowd of 17,565 roared as Lucic was seen on the ice getting a little choked up. Both benches tapped their sticks in solidarity for the Vancouver-born power forward. “Milan Lucic” chants followed after the ensuing puck drop.
The emotion wore off after that. Following the returning hospitality, Lucic and the Kings, who were trailing 1-0 during the video tribute, steamrolled past the Black and Gold, en route to a 9-2 shellacking.
“You think about the reaction and the excitement from the crowd,” Lucic said to the swarm of reporters hovering over his stall inside the visiting locker room. “The crowd was definitely great to me here tonight, and I can’t appreciate the fan support enough. So thanks to them for making this a special night for me individually, and thanks to my teammates for getting a big win for us here to start off this road trip.”
By the time the video tribute ended, there were still 17,565 inside the Garden. By the time Lucic tallied his first goal against his former team, there were only a handful of fans left to cheer him on as he took a victory lap on the ice — something Lucic watched when Jarome Iginla did the exact same thing during his return to Calgary as a member of the Black and Gold in 2013-14.
“I didn’t have it planned. A couple of teammates there told me to go out and do it. I just remembered being back in Calgary when Iggy [Jarome Iginla] did it, so felt like doing it,” Lucic said about the victory lap. “So like I said, now I can finally – as much as I was looking forward to this game, I’m glad it’s finally over, so I can kind of stop thinking about it and just focus on the rest of the road trip and all those type of things.”
The Bruins are also glad that they can put an ugly ending behind them. Their scene in the postgame locker room was certainly more somber to the one several doors down on the Garden event level. Words like anger and embarrassment were tossed around after suffering one of their worst home losses in recent memory.
Amidst all the hype, the Bruins didn’t get too caught up in the Lucic phenomenon — or, at least, they weren’t using that as any excuse.
“No. No, I don’t think so. I mean we had a good start, and we had a good first period,” expressed Brad Marchand, who has goals in 10 straight games after notching his 25th of the season to give his team a 1-0 lead on a first period power play. “I don’t think that really played into anything. We got away from our game and never got back to it.”
What started as a night of emotions and a 1-0 lead for the Black and Gold turned into a snowball effect that began with Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik scoring 1:23 apart late in the first period. Those events led to a string of seven unanswered goals — including Lucic’s 13th at 3:41 of the third.
Distractions now behind them, Lucic and his team continue their seven-game road trip in Brooklyn on Thursday shortly before the Bruins begin their season-long six-game road trip in Winnipeg.