Johnson ready to step up down stretch

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
9:04
PM ET
BOSTON -- Goaltender Chad Johnson has played 18 games for the Bruins this season and has an 11-3-1 record with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. He was solid for the Bruins in the weeks leading up to the Olympic break, and his presence will be even more important in the month of March, when the Bruins have 17 games in 31 days, including six pairs of back-to-backs.

[+] EnlargeTuukka Rask, Chad Johnson
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesBoth Chad Johnson and Tuukka Rask will be key components of the Bruins' sprint to the regular-season finish line.
Overall, there are 24 games remaining in the regular season, and Bruins coach Claude Julien knows he needs to keep No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask sharp and fresh down the stretch and into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

When asked what sort of breakdown he envisions between Rask and Johnson in the coming weeks, Julien said: "You're going to see them both, I don't know what percentage. Like I said at the beginning of the year, I don't really look that too far ahead. I know it's a heavy schedule and we can't rely on one goaltender, so you'll see them both. We'll go game by game and week by week."

After Rask returned from the Olympics after helping Finland to a bronze medal, Julien allowed him to remain in Boston while the team traveled to Buffalo on Wednesday and lost to the Sabres 5-4 in overtime. Johnson started that game, with prospect Niklas Svedberg called up from Providence of the AHL to serve as backup.

Johnson wasn't thrilled with his performance Wednesday and realizes he'll need to be better the rest of the way when given an opportunity to play.

"There's been no real talk, but I'm definitely looking forward to getting in more games and sort of keep the same routine that we've had the last month building up to the Olympics," Johnson said. "I got in a lot of games, and it was just fun to be able to contribute.

Added Johnson, "Yeah, just help Tuukka and help the team in getting wins. Just continue to do the same thing you've been doing all year, giving him rest in back-to-back games or when the coach feels the need to give him a break or get me in. It's a big month for the team, a big push the last six weeks, and I'll be ready for my starts."

Bruins players were impressed with Rask's performance at the Olympics, especially fellow Olympian David Krejci, who played for the Czech Republic.

"He played really well, but it's about showing it every night and not just a few games, or not show up," Krejci said. "He's been doing a pretty good job the whole year -- not just the whole year, but the last few years -- and hopefully he'll play the same way he has been, and we have to help him out as much as we can."

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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