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Recap: Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 win over Penguins

Frederic and Haula score in the first period as the Bruins edged out the Penguins this afternoon.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

The Boston Bruins edged out the Pittsburgh Penguins this afternoon at the TD Garden to clinch a playoff berth for the 2021-22 postseason.

The win ended a three-game losing streak.

The Bruins got on the board early with two goals within two minutes of the game’s start.

The third line kicked off the scoring with a net-front minded goal as Craig Smith’s effort to attack the net rewarded Trent Frederic in the slot.

The B’s extended their lead as Erik Haula followed up on his rebound, threw it at net and the shot deflected off a Penguins’ defender.

The Bruins kept that offensive pressure going and sustained pressure in the first half of the period to keep plays alive in the o-zone. They were fast to move the puck around and set up chances.

The Penguins got on the board five minutes into the second period with Danton Heinen’s wrister from the high slot.

Pittsburgh limited the Bruins’ opportunities in the middle frame, outshooting them 9-2 through almost 15 minutes of play. With increased puck possession off rushes from the Penguins, the Bruins did counter their pursuit with strong backchecking, especially at the hands of Patrice Bergeron.

It didn’t help the Bruins that they found themselves shorthanded for four minutes on two consecutive penalty kills in the second. But those successful penalty kills helped build momentum back in the B’s favor. The PK took away shooting lanes and forced shots wide. They also got their sticks to loose pucks quicker and killed plays.

The opening third-period shifts from the Bruins’ top line to win offensive-zone board battles and Haula’s line to crash the net and follow up on their one-timers gave the offense energy.

Jesper Froden, in particular, had a strong third period and game overall. He did the little things right around the slot and on the forecheck.

The Bruins had their second power play in the third. Although they failed to capitalize on it and are now 0 for 25 in their last seven games, the special teams’ units had more structured coverage. It was also encouraging to see Froden’s stick work to keep possession alive on the power play and now he can be of use moving forward.

The B’s held onto the game, despite the Penguins pressing in the defensive zone in the closing minutes.

Final score: 2-1 Bruins.

Up next: The Bruins will travel to St. Louis on Tuesday April 19 to face the Blues at 8 pm.

Here are the highlights!

First period:

The Bruins opened the scoring 49 seconds into the first period.

In the slot, Frederic picked up the rebound from Smith’s shot to put a backhander past Casey DeSmith’s glove. 1-0 Bruins.

The Bruins extended their lead at 2:01 of the first period.

Off a pass from Mike Reilly in the neutral zone, Haula skated into the offensive zone to fire a shot on DeSmith. He picked up his rebound to send another attempt at DeSmith which deflected off Marcus Pettersson and into the net. 2-0 Bruins.

Second period:

The Penguins cut into their deficit at 5:38 of the second period.

Teddy Blueger dropped a pass to Heinen in the high slot where he let a wrist shot fly over Jeremy Swayman’s glove. 2-1 game.

Third period:

Scoreless