Sports

Milan Lucic has a successful return to Boston as Kings romp, 9-2

Milan Lucic hadn’t planned it, and, in fact, he didn’t consider what he might do at the end of Tuesday night’s game here in his return to Boston.

The Kings’ left wing took a partial victory lap on the TD Garden ice after their 9-2 victory, acknowledging the loyal fans who backed him with passion and fervor in his eight seasons with the Bruins and in their Stanley Cup championship run in 2011.

He got a little help, a little inspiration, from his friends after the Kings had a season-high nine goals and season-high 57 shots on goal. It was the most shots against the Bruins since March 18, 1965.

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“I didn’t have it planned,” Lucic said. “A couple of teammates told me to go out and do it. I just remembered being back in Calgary when Iggy [Jarome Iginla] did it. So I felt like doing it.

“As much as I was looking forward to this game, I’m glad it’s finally over so I can stop thinking about it and focus on the rest of the road trip.”

This was Lucic’s first time playing as a visitor in Boston since the Bruins traded him to the Kings in June. The Bruins paid homage to him with a video tribute during the second TV timeout in the first period and Lucic received a standing ovation.

He felt the gamut of emotions on a night of tribute and closure. Lucic had watched his former Boston teammate, Iginla, go through an emotional return when Iginla went back to Calgary for the first time after he was traded.

“It was pretty cool from a player’s standpoint to experience that tonight,” said Lucic, who scored once and had an assist.

“Surreal at times, at the start there. But you kind of get yourself into the game, physically. You’re able to settle in and focus on what you’ve got to do.”

Boston was leading 1-0 before the game pivoted in a major way after the video tribute. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick held the deficit to one goal with a strong performance before his teammates stirred to life.

The Kings scored twice in the span of 1:23 on goals by Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik late in the first period, and victimized starter Tuukka Rask (who gave up five goals) and backup Jonas Gustavsson.

Perhaps there was some cosmic thing going on as nine Kings scored. Maybe it was a combination of the Lucic tribute, the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Los Angeles being granted an NHL franchise and the vintage gold jerseys to commemorate that day.

“I think it was special and unique. You know what? He’s a Boston-type player,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said of Lucic. “The fans love him and he won a championship here. That type of player that fits in with the crowd always is well-respected.

“It was awesome. [The video] was probably the best one, in-game, I’ve seen.”

The Kings have had nine different goal-scorers in a game before. They last did it against Pittsburgh on Jan. 21, 1987, and the last time any NHL team pulled off the feat was Winnipeg at Philadelphia, on Oct. 27, 2011, according to the Elias Sport Bureau.

Their last nine-goal output was a 9-2 win against Chicago, at home, on Jan. 1, 2008. You have to go back to March 29, 1993 to find the last time they scored nine goals on the road — a 9-3 win at Detroit.

Scoring for the Kings were Carter (14th of the season), Gaborik (11th), Andy Andreoff (fourth), defenseman Drew Doughty (11th), Dwight King (fifth), Trevor Lewis (sixth), Lucic (13th), defenseman Luke Schenn (third) and Dustin Brown (eight).

Their secondary mission was accomplished when Lucic scored at 3:41 of the third period, making it 7-1.

“They were definitely trying to set me up to get a goal here tonight,” Lucic said. “Happy to get one here, where I’ve scored a bunch of times in my career.”

The Kings brought in two special guests for the 50th anniversary date: Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne and Bob Wall, who was the first captain of the Kings.

Dionne praised the effort in detail and went out of his way to compliment Schenn, who had two points, and added, laughing: “And I like their uniforms too.”

Follow Lisa Dillman on Twitter @reallisa

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on February 10, 2016, in the Sports section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Kings, Lucic good as gold - L.A. romps on 50th anniversary and left wing scores against his former team. - KINGS 9, BOSTON 2" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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