Matt Grzelcyk scored two goals as the Boston Bruins won their fifth straight NHL playoff game with a 6-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
Tuukka Rask easily won the goaltending battle Sunday, making 21 saves as the Bruins won both games to start the best-of-seven series on home ice.“We just managed the puck well early,” said Grzelcyk. “It was nice to get a few goals in the first period. It forced them to get aggressive and we were able to capitalize on our opportunities.”
Grzelcyk grew up in Boston and his mother was at the Boston Garden on Mother’s Day. “It is special. I talk to her every day,” said Grzelcyk. “I wouldn’t be in the position I am without her and my family.” The series now shifts to Raleigh, North Carolina, for game three today. The Hurricanes have won all their games at PNC Arena these playoffs and are the only team in the NHL post-season that has not lost on home ice.
Jake DeBrusk, David Backes, Danton Heinen and Connor Clifton, with his first NHL goal, also scored for the Bruins in front of the home crowd of 17,500.
Justin Williams and Teuvo Teravainen scored the goals for Carolina who had their six-game winning streak snapped in game one. Netminder Petr Mrazek struggled in a 19-save performance. Mrazek over aggressive style allowed him to often make the first save, but when he couldn’t get back into position the Bruins would jump on the rebound and score into an empty net.
At one point Mrazek had given up 10 straight goals in the series but rookie head coach Rod Brind’Amour refused to pull his No. 1 goalie and replace him with backup Curtis McElhinney. Brind’Amour has never pulled a goaltender mid-game in his brief NHL coaching career.
He said he considered pulling Mrazek but the goaltender said he wanted to stay in the game. “We talked about it. But he doesn’t want to come out,” Brind’Amour said. “A lot of other guys on the bench deserve to come out if that’s what we’re doing. That’s not how we do it.”
Carolina was known this year for their over-the-top post game celebrations after a regular season wins, but they can’t seem to even buy a goal at this point of the playoffs. Both their goals Sunday came late in the third with the game already out of reach.
“We certainly don’t think we can’t do it,” Williams said of coming back in the series. “If they are going to advance, we’re certainly going to make it as tough as we can on them, and it won’t be easy.”
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