Boston rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman will serve as Tuukka Rask’s backup for the playoffs, which for Boston open on Saturday against Washington. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Jaroslav Halak has likely played in his last game as a Bruin after Coach Bruce Cassidy said Tuesday that rookie Jeremy Swayman will back up Tuukka Rask in the playoffs, starting on Saturday in Washington D.C.

“I think he’s earned that,” Cassidy said. “Obviously, a tough call with Jaro with his experience. Swayman just played more here down the stretch.”

Swayman, the rookie goalie who was a Hobey Baker finalist at the University of Maine, not only played but played well. He’s 7-3 with a 1.50 GAA and a .945 save percentage. One of his losses came Tuesday night when he allowed two goals and made 32 playing in at game where Washington dressed most of its regular lineup while the Bruins sat most of their top players. Swayman helped keep the game competitive.

If the 22-year-oldfrom Alaska had played enough games to qualify, he’d be leading the NHL in both goals against average and save percentage.

Halak turns 35 on Thursday. The veteran is an unrestricted free agent after this season. He’s been a valuable No. 2 in three seasons in Boston. He played more than most of Rask’s previous backup goalies, allowing Boston to give its No. 1 netminder more rest. Halak took over as the No. 1 goalie last year when Rask had to leave the NHL’s playoff bubble for a family medical emergency.

Halak was 9-6-4 with a 2.45 GAA, a .905 save percentage and two shutouts. But he went on the NHL’s COVID-19 restricted list after Boston’s win over Pittsburgh on April 3 and missed almost three weeks. In two appearances since returning, his save percentage has been just .808.

THE GOOD NEWS regarding Ondrej Kase is that his early departure from Monday’s game was not related to the concussion that kept him out of the lineup for four months.

“I think there was a little bit of a conditioning (issue), it was his first game in a long time. That’s what I was told,” Cassidy said. “He just didn’t feel like he was getting through it, where he needed to be. So he let the training staff know, so they decided to say, ‘Let’s cut it short tonight.’ We’ll see where it ends up.”

On Monday, the club tweeted that Kase would not return because of an “upper body” injury. Kase, who did not travel with the team to Washington for the regular-season finale on Tuesday, did take a pretty good hit from the Islanders’ Adam Pelech in the second period, but he bounced right up from that and did not seem worse for the wear. So it’s welcome news to hear there was no recurrence of the head issues, if that continues to be the case.

WITH HIS ASSIST on Taylor Hall’s first goal Monday, Brad Marchand has figured in the first goal of a game 20 times (7 goals, 13 assists, 20 points). That’s the most of any player in the league. Does he belong in the conversation with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for league MVP?

Marchand, who turned 33 on Tuesday, also has seven shorthanded points (four goals, three assists), by far the most of any player in the Hart conversation. Those stats, along with his 29 goals and 40 assists for 69 points (third in the league), add a different dimension to the conversation.

A DAY OF REST: Cassidy had said he’d be taking a cautious approach to the throwaway regular-season finale on Tuesday and he wasn’t kidding. The top two lines (plus Sean Kuraly and Charlie Coyle), the six defensemen who are expected to play Game 1 on Saturday, and Tuukka Rask were all scratches.

But while it meant nothing in the standings, for players like Jack Studnicka, Oskar Steen and Zach Senyshyn there are no meaningless viewings.

“There are some guys on that list who have played here that we may or may not use as the playoffs go on,” said Cassidy. “If we get to where we want to go, we’ve learned from past experience that you will need to reach down into your lineup. It’s an opportunity for them to show it to us.”

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