BOSTON — Fans love having Milan Lucic back in a Bruins uniform and Milan Lucic loves being back in Boston.

After spending the first eight seasons of his career in Boston, the 35-year-old returned to the Bruins this offseason for a second stint with the team.

Ahead of the regular season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks, Lucic received one of the loudest ovations of the night at TD Garden.

“It was great,” Lucic told reporters after the game. “Obviously, I was really looking forward to it. It was a real special moment for me.”

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As the Bruins honored legends of the past in a pregame ceremony centered around the team’s centennial anniversary, Lucic’s return also marked a reunion with fellow 2011 Stanley Cup champions such as David Krejci, Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, Shawn Thornton, Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask.

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“It was great to see some former teammates, too,” Lucic added. “I didn’t really know what the pregame ceremony was going to be and who was going to be here. It was great to see those guys as well.”

The 100-year celebration offered a chance to reflect for a player with deep roots in the organization’s history.

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“To be honest, I was just soaking it all in like a fan,” Lucic said. “On the bench there, it was really cool to be a part of. A really special moment for hockey history.”

Throughout the game, Lucic certainly showed his raw emotion and his happiness in playing with his original team.

“Obviously, it’s a special time in your life with those years that I spent here,” Lucic explained. “To be able to come back to a place that is so special to me. It’s good to have emotion and show emotion.

Beyond the fanfare, Lucic made an immediate impact in Game 1 of the season, earning an assist on David Pastrnak’s go-ahead goal in the second period. The veteran nearly tallied another assist on a perfect touch pass to Pavel Zacha in the third period, but the shot went just wide of the net.

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In his first regular season game back with Boston, Lucic did what was asked of him. He provided a veteran voice on the bench for his teammates. He created opportunities as a passer and laid out a few big hits to energize the crowd. His play helped the Bruins earn their first win of the season with a 3-1 victory.

“I thought Milan had a really great camp,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery told reporters after the win. “He came over in tremendous shape. Not only what you guys see on the ice, be the way he’s talking on the bench. He’s taken over a really important leadership role of talking about how to build our team game. All of the important details.”

From the official welcome back to a contributing performance, Wednesday marked a great start to the veteran’s second chapter in Boston.

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“It was good to be back, all in all,” Lucic said.

Featured image via Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports Images