NHL·Analysis

Has the clock struck midnight for the Cinderella Hurricanes?

Through two games, the glass slipper appears to no longer fit the Carolina Hurricanes. Boston Bruins defencemen accounted for three goals and six points, as the Bruins beat the Hurricanes 6-2 to take a 2-0 series lead in the East finals.

Boston native Matt Grzelcyk scores twice as Bruins coast to 2-0 series lead

Boston Bruins defenceman Matt Grzelcyk celebrates his goal in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 12, 2019 in Boston. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Through two games anyway, the glass slipper appears to no longer fit the Carolina Hurricanes.

They missed an opportunity in the East final opener against the Boston Bruins to take advantage of the absence of Bruins defenceman Charlie McAvoy, who was serving a one-game suspension.

The Hurricanes were even worse in Game 2, a tidy 6-2 victory for the Bruins with many of their moms in attendance at TD Garden on Mother's Day.

It was a big day for the Bruins defence. Torey Krug had three assists and 24-year-old Connor Clifton scored the game-winner early in the second period for his first career Stanley Cup playoff goal.

WATCH | Bruins breeze to victory over Hurricanes:

The Boston Bruins beat up the Carolina Hurricanes 6-2 and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. 1:49

Local boy Grzelcyk makes good

But this Sunday afternoon belonged to pint-sized Boston defenceman Matt Grzelcyk. He was rocked into the sideboards at the end of his first shift by Carolina forward Micheal Ferland. No doubt his Mom, who was in the stands, didn't like that board-loosening hit.

But her 5-foot-9, 174-pound son was shaken, but not stirred. He gathered himself on the bench and then six shifts later he fired a hard shot for a goal through a crowd in front of Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek. Grzelcyk scored again on the power play late in the second period to make it 4-0.

The only thing in doubt after his second goal was whether or not Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask would earn his second shutout in three games. He did not as Hurricanes captain Justin Williams deflected a shot past Rask midway through the final period to end his shutout streak at 82 minutes, five seconds.

The goal temporarily put a damper on the atmosphere at TD Garden, a building Grzelcyk knows well. When the Bruins play a home game it really does feel like home for Grzelcyk.

Okay, maybe like a third home. There was the family home across the Charles River in nearby Charlestown. There was the rink at Edwards Park, where he spent plenty of time falling in love with hockey and there was TD Garden.

His father John Sr. has worked for Bruins and the NBA Boston Celtics for more than 50 years, dating back to the old Garden, which was situated on Causeway Street, not far from where the TD Garden now sits.

John Sr. was part of what's called the arena's bull gang that transformed the arena floor from a famous parquet floor for basketball games to the ice surface for hockey games or vice-versa. He also occasionally drove the Zamboni.

Matt's older brother, John Jr., also spent time working on the bull gang. For Matt, playing for the Bruins was a dream come true. His Dad would often sneak him in for Bruins games and on other occasions there would be a ticket for the young Grzelcyk to watch the game from the stands.

He wound up playing in a few games at the current Garden during his four years at Boston University. Imagine how brilliant he felt when he scored in overtime to give his school the Beanpot championship over Northeastern four years ago.

Grzelcyk hopes to enjoy many games like he celebrated on Sunday. Who knows, this Bruins club has a five-game win streak going and is only six victories away from a Stanley Cup championship.

Series shifts to Tobacco Road

But as the East final shifts to Raleigh, N.C. for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday, the hockey world will see how the Hurricanes respond after the beat down they received in Boston.

Will head coach Rod Brind'Amour stick with Mrazek or let backup Curtis McElhinney get a shot to see if he can turn around the series?

What kind of a response will the Hurricanes have after Bruins superpest Brad Marchand mocked Williams for sucking him into a second-period holding penalty that yielded Grzelcyk's second goal?

WATCH | Super pest Brad Marchand is at it again:

Brad Marchand was at it again in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final, getting under the skin of Carolina Hurricanes’ captain Justin Williams. 1:18

It will be interesting to find out how the East final series evolves this week, but for now Mother's Day belonged to the Grzelcyks.

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