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Fast-starting Bruins beat Penguins to clinch playoff berth

Apr 16, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) draws a holding penalty from Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson (5) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins scored two goals in the opening minutes of regulation Saturday, then held on to not only beat the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 but also to clinch a playoff spot.

Boston (46-24-5, 97 points) still has a chance to move up from a wild-card spot in the Atlantic Division.

Trent Frederic and Erik Haula scored within just a tick past two minutes into the game for the Bruins, who snapped what had been their longest losing streak of the season, a three-game skid.

Boston goaltender Jeremy Swayman, playing with Linus Ullmark injured, made 23 saves.

The Bruins won despite going 0 for 2 on the power play, extending their drought with the man-advantage to 0 for 25 over seven games.

Danton Heinen scored for the Penguins (43-23-11, 97 points), who dropped to 3-5-1 in their past nine games. They wrapped up a playoff berth in their previous game but are in danger of falling into a wild-card spot.

Pittsburgh goaltender Casey DeSmith had 27 saves in his first start since the team announced that No. 1 netminder Tristan Jarry is out week-to-week because of a lower-body injury that is believed to be a broken foot.

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin served the third game of a four-game suspension for a cross-checking incident.

The Bruins struck early.

Frederic made it 1-0 just 49 seconds into regulation. After Craig Smith’s shot from the left-wing boards, Frederic got to the rebound and scored on a backhander.

The puck was pinballing around the crease area in front of DeSmith when Haula got his stick on it. The puck went in off Pittsburgh defenseman Marcus Pettersson at 2:01 to make it 2-0.

Heinen scored for the third straight game and reached a career high with his 17th goal of the season at 5:38 of the second. He took a drop pass from Teddy Blueger and, from above the hash marks, scored on a screened shot that sailed over Swayman’s glove to make it 2-1.

–Field Level Media