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THE STANDING OVATION WAS A RETURN TO THE PAST. NO, NOT THE STANDING ovation at TD Garden at the end of that 1--0, stomach-churning win over the Lightning in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference finals that sent the Bruins into their transcontinental—and thrillingly victorious—arm wrestle with the Canucks for the Stanley Cup. The standing ovation the next afternoon at Pizzeria Regina in the North End was different. "Milan Lucic came in...." Richie Zapata, manager of the restaurant, reported. Yes, Milan Lucic. Bruins winger. Still only 22. Six-feet-three, 228 pounds. A fan favorite since he arrived at age 19. Banger, scrapper, thumper. Yes. "Johnny Boychuk was with him...." Yes. Johnny Boychuk. Defenseman. Big-time slap shot from the point. Cannon.
"They were with their girlfriends...."
"I gave them a booth in the back. They ordered a large pepperoni with peppers and mushrooms. I gave them some extra slices. Took care of it. They were nice. Signed some metal pizza plates for the waitresses. Just nice. Nobody bothered them."
So when the two Bruins and their girlfriends finished their meal at the original Pizzeria Regina, when they stood up, well, everyone else in the restaurant also stood up. And started clapping. Just like that.
A standing ovation for finishing lunch.
"It was something to see," Zapata said. "Jay Leno ate here. Leonardo DiCaprio. Rene Russo. Never happened with any of them."
It happened here.
It happened now.
It happened with a couple of the Bruins. Just the way things like that used to happen all the time.