It certainly took longer than originally expected, but with their 2-1 final over the Penguins on Saturday, the Bruins have finally and officially punched their ticket to the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Boston’s path towards their sixth straight postseason berth got off to a quick start, with goals from Trent Frederic and Erik Haula in the opening 2:01 of the first period against the Penguins’ Casey DeSmith.
Frederic’s tally, which came on a rebound putaway, was the winger’s perfect response to his scratch from Thursday’s lineup following a costly penalty against the Blues. Haula, meanwhile, continued to be a bad-angle god for the Bruins, with a second-chance shot that appeared to bank off Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson and through DeSmith.
The Penguins responded in the middle frame with a Danton Heinen tally good for Heinen’s 17th goal of the season (and his third in two games against the Bruins), but Jeremy Swayman stopped the bleeding with stops on the other eight shots faced.
That lockdown continued in the third period, too, and the 23-year-old Swayman finished with a 23-of-24 day in the Boston crease for the playoff-clinching victory. The Bruins also provided some strong support in front of Swayman, with 10 blocks and a 3-for-3 effort on the penalty kill.
Defenseman Brandon Carlo returned to the B’s lineup after missing Thursday’s game with an undisclosed injury. The 6-foot-5 Carlo finished Saturday’s head-to-head with a plus-1 rating, two blocks, and a hit in 21:13 of time on ice.
The Bruins will get back to work Tuesday night in St. Louis.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.