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Boston homecoming for Islanders’ Dennis Seidenberg against Bruins

Nikolay Kulemin #86 of the New York Islanders

Nikolay Kulemin #86 of the New York Islanders celebrates with Dennis Seidenberg #4 after scoring against the Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Maddie Meyer

BOSTON — Dennis Seidenberg’s return to TD Garden was probably not as emotional as it could have been, seeing that the Bruins bought out the final year of the defenseman’s contract in June.

But it was still something different for Seidenberg, who played his first game against the Bruins after spending the prior six-plus seasons in Boston.

“It’s definitely new coming in and being on the other side for quite a few years,” Seidenberg said before Tuesday’s game. “We really need the two points, so that’s the focus right now.”

Seidenberg received a video tribute and very warm ovation from the Garden crowd during the first television timeout and acknowledged the reception with a few waves from the bench.

The 35-year-old defenseman began his Islanders career like gangbusters, posting four goals and four assists in his first 12 games. After missing three weeks with a broken jaw, he hasn’t been as effective in the nine games since his return.

Jack Capuano started Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk, another former Bruin, on Tuesday to get a little round of applause before the game. But it wasn’t just for a ceremonial opening shift; Capuano kept the Seidenberg-Boychuk pairing together for the entire game, moving Thomas Hickey to the right side with Calvin de Haan.

That Seidenberg-Boychuk pair was the third pair for the Bruins during their 2011 Stanley Cup run, which obviously stands out as Seidenberg’s favorite Boston memory.

“That’s a pretty easy one,” Seidenberg said. “It was a special time, a special group of guys. There’s a lot to look back on from my time here.”

Pelech nearing return

Adam Pelech (upper body) skated again on Tuesday and appears close to being ready to play. Tuesday was the 11th game he’s missed. The Islanders decided not to send Pelech back to Bridgeport during the Dec. 19-27 NHL roster freeze, so he could be ready to play on Friday against the Sabres in Barclays Center. Casey Cizikas (upper) is not likely to be back until next week at the earliest.


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