Boston Bruins defensemen Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy are sons as well as hockey players. With Mother's Day on the horizon, that means they take time out from trying to help the Bruins defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final to shop for flowers and gifts for their moms.
The third installment of "Quest For The Stanley Cup," which debuts Friday at 6 p.m. ET exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States and YouTube.com/NHL in Canada, gives viewers an inside look at the players and coaches from the four teams that advanced past the second round of this season's Stanley Cup Playoffs. That includes McAvoy and Grzelcyk, college teammates at Boston University before joining the Bruins, taking time out from their game preparation to look for flowers and presents for their mothers at a shop in Charlestown, Massachusetts, "where I'm living now and where [Grzelcyk] is from and his family still lives," says McAvoy. "Hopefully we make our moms happy."
After making their purchases, it's time for McAvoy and Grzelcyk to go from sons looking for the right gifts for their moms to hockey players trying to take another step toward the Stanley Cup. Grzelcyk scores two goals in the 6-2 victory in Game 2 at TD Garden, earning cheers from his teammates and a tribute from coach Bruce Cassidy. "You're a sexy little son of a [gun]," Cassidy says. "Good for you."
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After bringing smiles to the 17,565 fans who packed TD Garden for the game, Grzelcyk does the same afterward for his mom, handing her the bouquet he'd bought when shopping with McAvoy.
There aren't any smiles in Carolina's locker room after Game 2, or after Game 3 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the Bruins survive an early barrage by the Hurricanes and win 2-1 to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. "You're going to hear the same old stuff you hear from every coach over the last hundred years when you're down 3-0," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour says. "One game at a time. … It's tough right now. I told the guys that this [stinks]. There's no way around it. I'm not going to sugar-coat it. It's going to hurt for a while, but then we come back to work tomorrow, we'll pick the pieces up. That's how you win."
Some members of the San Jose Sharks get ready for Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the St. Louis Blues with a table tennis competition between forwards Marcus Sorensen and Evander Kane. "These are two stallions going toe to toe," center Joe Thornton says before Sorensen celebrates his win.
A quiet place can be hard to find during the playoffs, but Blues center Ryan O'Reilly finds one in an empty hallway at SAP Center, using a hockey stick and a rubber ball to work on his hand-eye coordination.
Then it's game time, with the Blues needing a win to even the best-of-7 series 1-1 after a 6-3 loss in the opener. The unlikely hero of their 4-2 victory is defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who scores the go-ahead goal that breaks a 2-2 tie late in the second period and makes a key shot block in the third period that preserves the lead.
"You won the game and saved it," Blues coach Craig Berube says.
Win or lose, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a war of attrition for the four teams that have gotten this far. As Cassidy says after Game 3, "It hurts to win. We paid the price."
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