BOSTON — Making your NHL debut would be momentous for anybody, but Matt Grzelcyk’s first couple of days in the league were pretty darn special.

On Wednesday, he played his first game, and it was in Pittsburgh against the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins and some of the stars he grew up idolizing, including Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Thursday night at TD Garden, he made his home debut at the rink that’s just a short stroll across the bridge from his native Charlestown.

Before playing the Ducks, however, Grzelcyk did his best to play it cool.

“I kind of made it a point when I got called up not to put as much into it as I did in camp. I’m just trying to do my best to keep my mind off it,” he said.

Yet it wasn’t easy.

The young defenseman played many big games on the Garden ice in the past as a young man with Boston University and as a kid “whenever my dad could sneak me in.”

Grzelcyk’s father, John, is a member of the arena’s bull gang and was on the clock before Thursday night’s game. After watching his son’s NHL debut on TV with members of their extended family – and fielding many phone calls – John was expecting to enjoy the home-ice debut in person.

Matt, meanwhile, was hoping his previous Garden experiences would help guide him through this special moment.

“You’re not wide-eyed going around the arena. You know the ins and outs, played in some pretty big environments here. Hopefully stepping on the ice will give me a comfort level,” the younger Grzelcyk said.

It was a mixed bag for Grzelcyk Thursday night. He was on the ice for a Bruins goal – Austin Czarnik’s first-period score – and for one against the home team as Kevin Bieksa’s breakaway goal came as the Anaheim defenseman stepped out of the penalty box later in the first. The latter was a play Grzelcyk would like to have back.

“I think I wasn’t expecting it to take as crazy a hop as it did. But that’s something that’s kind of a teaching point for me,” Grzelcyk said after the 4-3 loss to Anaheim. “I have to recognize the guy is coming out of the box there. At that point in the game, you can’t be too risky.”

In 10:24 of ice time, Grzelcyk took four shots.


STARS 3, FLYERS 1: Adam Cracknell scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period, and Dallas won at home to end Philadelphia’s 10-game winning streak.

Radek Faksa and Jordie Benn also scored for the Stars and Antti Niemi stopped 31 shots, including three during a Flyers power play in the closing minutes.

Tyler Leier scored his first NHL goal in the first period for the Flyers.

WILD 4, COYOTES 1: Darcy Kuemper stopped 27 shots in his first start in nearly three weeks, and the Wild beat Arizona in St. Paul, Minnesota for their seventh straight win.

Ryan Suter and Tyler Graovac both ended goal-scoring droughts of at least 13 games, and Chris Stewart and Eric Stall also scored for the Wild. Minnesota has won seven in a row for the first time since March 2013.