BOSTON —Rick Middleton raised his No. 16 to the TD Garden rafters Thursday night, nearly three decades after playing his final game with the Boston Bruins.

Middleton, nicknamed “Nifty,” spent 12 seasons with the Bruins from 1976-88, scoring 402 goals and totaling 898 points. The right wing is third in goals and fourth in points in Bruins history.

“I’ve had four months to think about it, and I hate repeating myself, but honestly, I believe it is the biggest honor that certainly a retired athlete can get in his career,” the 64-year-old Middleton said before the Bruins faced the New York Islanders.

The Bruins announced in July that Middleton’s number would be the 11th retired by the team, and the first since longtime forward and current Bruins president Cam Neely’s No. 8 was hoisted to the rafters in 2004.

In all, 19 players have worn No. 16 for the Bruins, including center Derek Sanderson; Middleton said he wore the number to honor Sanderson. Kaspars Daugavins was the last to wear it in 2013.

“In the last six or seven years, I’ve been seeing that it’s not out there; nobody’s wearing it,” Middleton said. “All of a sudden it happened. In July, a phone call in July; I never thought it would ever happen that way, but I just have to thank (Neely) so much for doing it. … It culminated tonight.”

Middleton was joined by Neely, Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk and Terry O’Reilly – whose numbers have all been retired by the Bruins – and former Bruins coach Don Cherry at center ice for the pregame ceremony.

A Rangers first-round draft pick in 1973, Middleton played two seasons in New York before being traded to the Bruins.

Middleton, a three-time All-Star, led the Bruins in goals for six consecutive seasons from 1978-84. He scored a career-high 51 times in the 1981-82 season, the same year he took home the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

Middleton holds the NHL record for points in a playoff series, totaling 19 (five goals, 14 assists) in a 1982-83 second-round series against the Buffalo Sabres.

Kevan Miller, who was struck in the throat by a puck Monday night during a 4-2 loss at Toronto, had further tests that revealed cartilage damage to his larynx that’s expected to keep him from playing for at least five weeks.

“We’ll miss him,” said Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy, who was able to use Miller only in four games after Miller’s return from a hand injury that cost him 13. “When he was out of the lineup I thought we weren’t as gritty as a team or as hard to play against.”

Brandon Carlo also is looking to return soon after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.

“I’m feeling good,” said Carlo. “I’m not sure where I’m at with the medical staff yet … but overall I’m feeling pretty good on the ice.”

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