BOSTON (CBS) — For the first time in over a year, the Boston Bruins played in front of some home fans. There were just shy of 2,200 fans in the stands at TD Garden on Thursday night to cheer on the home team against the New York Islanders.

While the stadium was filled to just 12 percent capacity, the Bruins certainly felt that little boost of energy from their faithful followers.

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“We heard from the time we stepped on at the beginning of the game to the end,” said Steven Kampfer, who had fans on their feet when he scored a power play goal to give Boston a 2-0 lead in the first period. “It’s what Boston fans are great for. They’re loud, they’re passionate. We definitely fed off their energy tonight and we will going forward. It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t get a win for their first game back in the building.”

Yeah, about that outcome. Boston let that 2-0 lead slip away and ended up falling 4-3 in overtime. The team fell behind 3-2 late in the third period, only to have Anders Bjork tally the equalizer at 17:58. He said that he fed off the fans to get a little bit extra juice while the B’s fought to come back.

“I don’t think other places have it quite as special as we do. Something that makes all of us proud to wear the Bruins logo,” said Bjork. “It’s awesome. Especially when we’re at home, we’re never out of a game. That’s in part due to our fans because they’re providing that energy and we all want to do it for them, do it for each other.”

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This was the first time fans have been at TD Garden for a Bruins game since March 7, 2020.

“It’s obviously much better than nobody,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the loss. “It’s not going to replace 18,000, but it’s nice to hear them again. Unfortunately, we couldn’t send them home in a better mood. There were some good pockets of hockey for them and some other pockets they were probably disappointed and frustrated. We are as well.

“Hopefully Saturday we’ll give them more to cheer about,” added Cassidy.

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Boston will be back in action — with 2,191 fans cheering them on — Saturday afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden.

CBSBoston.com Staff