Bruins: Chad Johnson

Johnson ready to step up down stretch

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
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."

Rapid Reaction: Bruins 4, Oilers 0

February, 1, 2014
Feb 1

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins recovered from their worst loss of the season with a 4-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

After a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night on home ice, the Bruins played with more emotion en route to victory over the Oilers.

The Bruins received goals from David Krejci, Dougie Hamilton, Carl Soderberg and Torey Krug, while goaltender Chad Johnson finished with 22 saves for his first shutout of the season and second of his career.

After a scoreless opening period, the Bruins gained a 1-0 lead on Krejci's power-play goal at 2:06 of the second period. His shot from the high slot was redirected past Edmonton goaltender Ben Scrivens. It was Krejci's 12th goal of the season. The goal snapped Scrivens' shutout streak at 126:41. He made 103 saves during that scoreless streak, including a 59-save performance in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks Wednesday night.

It appeared Boston added to its lead later in the period, but the goal was disallowed after it was ruled to have come on a distinct kicking motion by Bruins forward Loui Eriksson. On the play, Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski gained control of the puck at the offensive blue line and broke in down the left side. His centering pass went off Eriksson's skate and past Scrivens at 8:32.

The Bruins had another golden opportunity in the waning minutes of the second when Boston penalty killer Daniel Paille created a short-handed bid, but Scrivens stopped the breakaway attempt to keep Edmonton's deficit at one goal.

Hamilton finally gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead at 6:43 of the third period. He broke in along the right side and took a shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle. Scrivens made the initial save, but Hamilton collected the rebound, skated behind the net and tucked in a wraparound for his sixth goal of the season and second in as many games.

Boston gained a 3-0 lead when Soderberg's wrist shot from the left faceoff circle beat Scrivens for his eighth goal of the season at 13:05 of the third period. The Bruins scored their second power-play goal of the game when Krug notched his 12th goal of the season at 15:42 of the third period to give Boston a 4-0 lead.

Save of the game: Johnson turned in the save of the game early in the first period. In a scoreless game, the Oilers created a quality scoring chance when forward Ales Hemsky had a breakaway, but Johnson stoned the attempt to secure the stalemate.

Drop 'em: The Bruins' Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with the Oilers' Luke Gazdic at 3:20 of the first period. The two went toe-to-toe in front of the Edmonton bench, and Gazdic landed a hard right, dropping Thornton to the ice and ending the fight. After spending a brief time in the penalty box, Thornton skated off the ice and went to the dressing room. A few minutes later, a team doctor returned to his seat behind the Bruins bench, but Thornton remained in the room and did not return for the remainder of the period. He did return for the start of the second period. It was his second fighting major since returning from a 15-game suspension on Jan. 11.

Tribute: During a television timeout in the first period, the Bruins honored former defenseman and current Edmonton captain Andrew Ference with a video tribute. The 17,565 in attendance gave him a standing ovation, and he acknowledged it with wave of his stick. Ference spent seven seasons in Boston and helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Up next: The Bruins host the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night (7 p.m.) at TD Garden.

Bloody Johnson covers blind spot for B's

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
JohnsonJerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsChad Johnson got cut near his eye and lost a contact lens but gutted out Boston's 4-2 win in Dallas.
DALLAS -- Bruins backup goaltender Chad Johnson had much bigger issues on Thursday night than starting for the first time since Dec. 19, when he lost to the Buffalo Sabres. Or having to replace slumping starter Tuukka Rask against a pretty good offensive team in the Dallas Stars.

Try playing goalie for nearly eight minutes of the second period with only one contact lens in.

Johnson was bloodied under his left eye when the blade of captain Zdeno Chara's stick poked through his mask and cut him, at the 12:28 mark of the period. Johnson went to the ice in pain, yet managed to stop Alex Chiasson's wraparound attempt. Johnson was then treated by Bruins trainer Don DelNegro. He stayed in the game, making several more big saves.

Johnson revealed after the game that he unknowingly played without his left contact in his eye for part of the second period. DelNegro told him the lens was still in, but when Johnson got back to the visitor's locker room after the second intermission, he found out it was gone and replaced it with a spare.

"It was just a little blurry," said Johnson, who stopped 32 shots on the night. "It wasn't too severe where I couldn't play without it. I had backups [lenses]. I always bring a couple in case something like that happens."

Johnson's huge effort helped the Bruins slowly take over the game. The first goal of the night wasn't scored until 4 seconds were left in the second period when David Krejci slipped the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

That Johnson was able to shut down the Stars for the first 41 minutes paved the way to Boston's 30th win of the season.

"He played huge," Bruins center Brad Marchand said. "He made a lot of big saves at the right time and he did a great job of staying composed and battling through that eye injury and he did a great job tonight."

Johnson did allow a power-play goal just 1:18 into third period when Erik Cole scored on a tip-in to tie the game at 1-1.

Marchand answered 2 minutes later when Cole turned the puck over.

"Bergeron did a nice job on the forecheck and poked it out, and I just wanted to take it to the net and I had a lane and luckily it went in," said Marchand, who slipped the go-ahead goal under Lehtonen's pads.

Milan Lucic, who assisted on Krejci's goal, scored on a tip to make it 3-1 with less than 5 minutes left in the game. Stars captain Jamie Benn cut the Bruins' lead to 3-2 with 1:11 remaining before Bergeron clinched the win with an empty netter 27 seconds later.

Boston's best players produced, and Johnson, who gave Rask a much needed break, came up big -- with and without good vision.

"I felt pretty good throughout the night," Johnson said. "They came pretty hard, getting pucks to the net and trying to hit guys wide and our guys did a good job of boxing out and battling with them in front. And it was really good effort overall. It was good to get the two points."

Rapid Reaction: Bruins 4, Stars 2

January, 16, 2014
Jan 16

DALLAS -- An evening off for the slumping Tuukka Rask worked out for everyone involved for the Bruins on Thursday night in Dallas.

Backup goaltender Chad Johnson filled in admirably for Rask, stopping 31 shots in the Bruins' 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

Meanwhile, the Bruins produced three goals against a very focused Stars goalie, Kari Lehtonen, who was auditioning to be the starter for Team Finland in the Sochi Winter Games while countryman Rask sat out for Boston. Finland's top hockey brass was in attendance for Thursday's game.

But this night for the Bruins was about getting Rask out of his funk and getting a win in the process. It was a win-win night for Boston heading into Sunday's showdown in Chicago.

The game-winning goal was scored by the oncoming Brad Marchand. He scored off a turnover 3:18 into the third period, answering Erik Cole's power-play goal two minutes earlier that had tied the game at 1-1. Marchand has seven goals in his past 13 games.

Boston also got goals from their top players with David Krejci scoring in the first period for a 1-0 lead. Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron scored goals in the third period, Bergeron's coming on an empty net after Stars captain Jamie Benn had made the game interesting off a rebound to cut Boston's lead to 3-2 with 1:11 left in the game.

Johnson was more than up to the task with a defense in front of him that was sharp all night, playing the puck to the outside and keeping the Stars from creating many quality chances.

Former Bruin Tyler Seguin was almost nonexistent in his second game against his former team, getting only four shots on goal after scoring in a shootout in Boston in Dallas' overtime win earlier in the season.

Feisty Chara: Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was involved in just about every on-ice scrum on the same day that he learned he will carry the Slovakian flag in the Opening Ceremony at the Winter Games in Sochi next month. Chara and teammate Adam McQuaid teamed up in a rare 2-on-1 fight with Stars forward Vernon Fiddler that resulted in roughing penalties for all three players.

On the kill: The Bruins did allow the power-play goal on Cole's tip-in, but Boston did an excellent job killing off penalties. Dallas had six power plays and produced only nine shots while the Bruins created numerous short-handed opportunities with six shots.

Up next: The Bruins will play in Chicago against the Black Hawks on Sunday afternoon on NBC in a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Finals. It will be the first matchup between the teams since Chicago won the Cup.

Johnson maximizes limited time, earns win

November, 23, 2013
BOSTON -- Saying Bruins backup goaltender Chad Johnson has played sporadically this season would be a huge understatement.

[+] EnlargeChad Johnson
AP Photo/Winslow TownsonBruins backup goalie Chad Johnson made 22 saves against Carolina and improved to 3-1-0.
He helped Boston to a 3-2 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden with a 22-save performance in only his fourth start of the season to improve to 3-1-0. In the first two periods, the Hurricanes couldn't generate much offense. Carolina registered only six shots in the first period and didn't post a shot for nearly 12 minutes to the start the second period.

When the Hurricanes finally created some offense in the third period, Johnson made timely saves.

"That's tough for any goalie," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "I think when you sit in there, and halfway through the game or whatever you've got maybe seven, 10 shots, it's not easy. So at the end of the day, you look and I think he's 3-1 now, and that's what you want from your second goaltender -- is that he can go in there and allow you to win some games. So far, he's done a pretty good job despite the fact that he's had some long breaks in between those games."

Boston's No.1 goalie, Tuukka Rask, is 12-5-2 with a 1.62 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage in 19 games so far this season. Meanwhile, Johnson has had to watch from the bench. In the games he has played, though, he's been solid.

"I just try and just take advantage of the opportunity I have," Johnson said. "It's nice to get in more games and be in there more consistently instead of having to wait two or three weeks, and I feel the more I play, the more confident I'll be and the more consistent my game will be. I'm feeling like I'm in a little bit more of a groove right now for sure."

Johnson likely in net Tuesday

November, 19, 2013
NEW YORK -- With back-to-back games on the schedule for the Boston Bruins, it’s likely Chad Johnson will be in net against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Tuukka Rask, Boston’s No. 1 netminder, made 23 saves during Monday’s 4-1 win at Carolina. Bruins coach Claude Julien wouldn’t announce his goalie for Tuesday, but he did say he would like to give Johnson a chance to stay sharp since he’s played only three games this season.

“It’s a matter of giving him some reps at some point and making sure he gets into a groove,” Julien said. “It’s hard to be off for a week or two before you get your next game and we understand that. He’s done a good job working hard and staying sharp, so we’ll continue to do that with him, make sure he stays sharp and when he’s called upon he’s got to be ready.”

Johnson helped the Bruins to a 3-2 win with his 34-save performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets last Thursday night at TD Garden. It had been over two weeks since his last game on Nov. 2, a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders, but he played well against the Blue Jackets, especially in the third period to secure the win for Boston.

If he does start against the Rangers, he’s hoping to build off that momentum.

"Just the consistency, like in the third period, I was battling and feeling comfortable,” Johnson said. “Just being able to play some games closer together always helps. You feel more comfortable the more you play, so it’s just one of those things, get in there, do my thing and play to win.”

Johnson played his first NHL game with the Rangers on Dec. 30 2009 and lost to the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden. During his time in the Rangers organization, he played only six games in two seasons, while spending the majority of his time with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL.

“It’s exciting,” Johnson said of being back at MSG and possibly playing against the Rangers. “It’s where it all began for me. I got my first NHL action here five years ago, so to be able to come back here, just to be in this environment with the fans, is exciting and just brings back memories, a lot of good memories.”

Johnson gets win in first Garden start

November, 14, 2013
BOSTON -- Goaltender Chad Johnson deserved a positive outcome, and he received it as the Boston Bruins posted a 3-2 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night at TD Garden.

It was only Johnson's third start of the season, and first at TD Garden. He finished with 32 saves and teammate Milan Lucic scored with 48.6 seconds remaining in OT.

"It was nice," Johnson said. "Especially in the third when I made a couple of saves, you could hear the fans get behind you and it's pretty cool in this arena with these fans."

[+] EnlargeChad Johnson
AP Photo/Charles KrupaBackup Bruins goalie Chad Johnson made 32 saves and improved to 2-1-0 this season.
Despite scoring the game-winning goal, Lucic was more satisfied for Johnson's performance.

"He's probably had the toughest job on our team so far," Lucic said. "Obviously with Tuukka [Rask] playing the way that he has and getting almost all the starts, having [Johnson] come in and play big for us is huge, especially here tonight. You need games like that out of your goaltenders and it was great to see him get rewarded here with the big win."

Boston starting goaltender Tuukka Rask is having a phenomenal start to the season with a 10-4-1 record, including a 1.53 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage in 15 starts. Johnson entered Thursday's game with a 1-1-0 record and a 2.53 GAA and a .900 SP in his two starts.

With Rask expected to play a career high in games this season, Johnson understands his role and realizes his playing time will be minimal. Bruins coach Claude Julien has been impressed with Johnson's professionalism and his compete level during practice.

"I thought he played really well, so I'm really pleased for him," Julien said. "I'm sure the players are happy for him, as well."

Johnson admitted he was a bit rusty at the start, which is understandable since he hadn't played a game since Nov. 2. Even though he wasn't feeling sharp, he had to find a way to generate some swagger so his teammates and opponents thought he was ready from the opening drop.

"I felt OK. I can't say I felt great," Johnson said. "It took me a little bit to really get in it mentally. Sometimes you've gotta fake it every now and then and kind of show that you're feeling great. I battled and got more comfortable in the third period and felt great."

Each time the Bruins were in the offensive zone, Johnson was hoping his teammates would pump one in. When Lucic scored in overtime, it was a refreshing feeling for Johnson.

"When I saw him on a breakaway, I kind of put my head down and was like, 'Oh, please score.' These are points we need and there are always teams you think you should get points off of and we really wanted to get the two points tonight."

The two goals Columbus did score came as the Blue Jackets capitalized on a pair of defensive breakdowns by the Bruins. But when Boston needed its goaltender to make the timely saves, Johnson did, especially in the third period, and he also stifled four power-play opportunities for Columbus.

"It was huge," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand of Johnson's performance. "He's worked so hard for us all year long and we really wanted to have a good game for him tonight. He played great and made some huge saves in the third and kept us in it. He did a great job tonight."

Johnson made two of his biggest saves early in the third period with the game tied at 2-2. He kept the Bruins in this one with solid saves on back-to-back two-on-ones. He first stopped the Blue Jackets' Ryan Johansen with a quick right-pad save, then followed it up with another on Brandon Dubinsky.

After Lucic scored at 4:11 of overtime for his eighth goal of the season, the Bruins players came jumping over the boards and mobbed Johnson.

"It's just nice to get two points," he said. "I get in once every two weeks and I try to work as hard as I can in practice to make myself ready for these situations. The guys know there might be a little bit of rust now and then and they battled really hard for me."

Rapid Reaction: B's 3, Blue Jackets 2 (OT)

November, 14, 2013

BOSTON -- Milan Lucic scored with 48.6 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Bruins extended their winning streak to four games when Lucic blocked a shot, collected the ricochet at center ice, broke in on Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and beat him 5-hole. Boston earned nine of a possible 10 points during this five-game homestand.

"A great job of blocking the shot and he got on his horse and took off," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Lucic's winner. "Again, he can shoot the puck. He got him in the five-hole and it was a great decision on his part."

The Bruins received goals from Loui Eriksson and Shawn Thornton, while goaltender Chad Johnson made 32 saves to win his first game at TD Garden this season. The goal scorers for the Blue Jackets were Blake Comeau and Nick Foligno.

The Blue Jackets gained the early 1-0 lead when Comeau beat Johnson with a point-blank shot from the slot at 12:48 of the first period. Boston blueliners Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara were caught chasing behind the net, leaving Comeau all alone in front for his second goal of the season.

Columbus was playing a physical game, but the Bruins broke through moments later and tied it at one. Eriksson was battling for position in front of Bobrovsky when Chara's easy wrister from the left point redirected off Eriksson's skate and snuck in at 18:10.

Boston took a 2-1 lead when Thornton's slap shot from the right faceoff circle was redirected off the stick of Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson and beat Bobrovsky at 10:09 of the second period. The Bruins are now 25-4 when Thornton has scored a goal. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug assisted on the goal to extend his point streak to five games. He now has six goals and six assists for 12 points in 18 games.

Foligno took advantage of another defensive breakdown by the Bruins and knotted the game at two at 16:34 of the second.

Saves of the game: With the game tied at two early in the third period, Johnson kept the Bruins in this one with solid saves on back-to-back 2-on-1s. He first stopped the Blue Jackets' Ryan Johansen with a quick right-pad save, then followed it up with another on Brandon Dubinsky.

Special is as special does: The Bruins continue to dominate on the penalty kill. Boston went 4-for-4 on the PK and has killed off 26 consecutive penalties. Overall, the Bruins are 50-for-58 on the PK this season.

"We were really disappointed in that game against New Jersey [when we allowed three power-play goals] and finding a way to bounce back and being real solid since then was a goal of ours," Julien said. "Every game is a new challenge and guys are looking forward to it and they want to prolong it as long as they can. So tonight we needed our goaltender as well to make the big saves at the right time and keep that streak going and we did."

Krejci injured: Midway through the opening period, top-line Bruins center David Krejci suffered what appeared to be a head injury when he lost his edge and went horizontally into the corner boards. It didn't help that the Blue Jackets' Dubinsky was trailing Krejci and made the collision worse. Krejci remained on the ice and was tended to by team trainer Don DelNegro. Krejci was able to skate off on his own and went directly to the dressing room. At the end of the play, Lucic was called for roughing as he attempted to bait Dubinsky into a fight. Krejci missed the remainder of the opening period but returned for the start of the second. He entered the game with three goals and 13 assists for 16 points in 17 games.

"I don’t know if [Dubinsky] could have let up a little bit," Julien said. "It looked like he turned his hip and that his hip kind of hit him in the head there as he was falling. You have to be careful, because if you start looking at every hit and then you’re looking to punish every hit, we’re going to hurt our game more than we’re going to help it. So again, those things I’d rather let the people in charge look at it and dissect it and I’m certainly not going to stand in front of the computer and dissect it because he’s back and he’s with us and I need to think about preparing our team for tomorrow."

Up next: The Bruins concluded their five-game homestand and now hit the road for three games, beginning in Ottawa on Friday night, then heading to Carolina on Monday and the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

Goalie Johnson ready for Garden debut

November, 14, 2013
BOSTON -- Bruins backup goaltender Chad Johnson has played only two games this season and both have been on the road, but he will make his TD Garden debut Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Boston starting goaltender Tuukka Rask is 10-4-1 with a 1.53 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage in 15 starts, but with the Bruins playing back-to-back games Thursday and Friday (at Ottawa) this gives coach Claude Julien a chance to start Johnson, who is 1-1-0 with a 2.53 GAA and a .900 SP in his two games.

“It’s always nice to play in front of the home crowd and the fans,” Johnson said. “It’s always fun to be a part of that, a part of the Bruins, the atmosphere and energy of the TD Garden. It would be nice to get a home game, but for me it’s about getting as many games as I can and winning them and helping the team in any way I can.”

At the start of training camp, the Bruins had three goalies -- Johnson, Malcolm Subban and Niklas Svedberg -- competing for the backup role. While both Subban and Svedberg need more time in the AHL to develop their skills, the 27-year-old Johnson has spent the majority of his pro career in the AHL and also has 153 games of NHL experience.

With Rask expected to play a career high in games this season, Johnson earned the job as backup. Julien said he’s been impressed with Johnson, despite the lack of playing time.

“If anything, he’s had a great attitude,” Julien said. “He hasn’t had a chance to play much, but nothing has diminished from his work ethic, attitude and demeanor. He still comes in as a real good team player every day, but that’s what you want to see from guys like that. You always hope when they do get their chance they make the best of it and get what they deserve and guys like that deserve success.

“It was pretty obvious with the slow start, as far as the schedule is concerned, that it allowed us time to get [Rask] going again and get some rest,” explained Julien. “The schedule will get heavier and we’ll have to lean on Chad more and more. We know he’s in a situation where he hasn’t played much and we need to allow him to maybe find his groove a little bit if we expect to get some positive performances from him.”

The Bruins did not play so well in front of Johnson during his last start on Nov. 2 at the New York Islanders and Boston suffered a 3-1 loss.

“It’s tough in sort of that situation,” Johnson said. “You play a game and you might not get another one for a week or two weeks. You’re only as good as your last game and for me sometimes it’s two weeks, so it’s sort of tough to deal with sometimes. But you have to be mentally strong and worry about having good practices and be ready for the opportunity when it does come up again.”

Since he’s been on the bench for the majority of the season, Johnson has been able to watch Rask up close, which is something Johnson also was able to do when he played in New York and was the backup for Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Johnson said that both those goalies have similar traits, but he’s been impressed with Rask.

“The consistency and the way he plays and how competitive he is,” Johnson answered when asked what he’s learned from watching Rask. “They have two different styles, but they both compete so hard. They have the passion to win and be the best at their position. Tuukka’s so athletic. Henrik can be athletic as well, but the way Tuukka plays allows him to use his athletic ability a little bit more.

“His confidence and his composure, he’s getting good results right now in the way he’s playing. He’s so relaxed and that’s what I’ve noticed from him,” he added.

Thursday night, Rask will get a rest and will be watching Johnson as he attempts to help the Bruins continue their three-game winning streak.

Young roster additions bring depth

September, 29, 2013
BOSTON -- After completing the preseason exhibition schedule on Friday and then having Saturday off, the team returned to the practice ice Sunday to find the regular-season roster set.

The team sent forwards Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Matt Lindblad and goaltender Niklas Svedberg to Providence of the AHL, and placed forward Nick Johnson on waivers.

[+] EnlargeChad Johnson
Tim Fuller/USA TODAY SportsGoaltender Chad Johnson beat out Niklas Svedberg to be Tuukka Rask's backup in Boston. "Im happy. Im excited. It was a tough camp," he said.
When the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning in the season opener on Thursday night at TD Garden, Boston will have 13 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies on the roster. Earning spots were forwards Jordan Caron, Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg, defenseman Kevan Miller and backup goaltender Chad Johnson.

“This was my goal, obviously, coming into camp to be with this club,” Johnson said. “I’m happy. I’m excited. It was a tough camp. Svedberg played great and had great camp, too. It was obviously a tough decision. We both played well. I’m happy I’m here. It was a tough camp, but it’s kind of like the easy part is over because you’ve got to play well during the season. I’m excited for it and I’ll focus on the day-to-day. It’s a tough league. The best players are here and this is where I want to be.”

Goaltender Tuukka Rask will see the bulk of the ice time and Johnson understands that. Meanwhile, Svedberg will split time between the pipes in Providence with prospect Malcolm Subban.

“Having good practices and playing those as they’re games, play those situations like they’re game situations,” Johnson said. “[Rask] is going to play a lot and he’s one of the best goalies in the league and he wins a lot of hockey games. I’ll be ready, and when I do get those games I’ll help this team win hockey games.

Coach Claude Julien doesn’t have a set game schedule for his goaltenders. Julien normally decides it on a weekly basis, taking into consideration the amount of games, the travel schedule, and whether Rask needs a rest.

“Sometimes he looks like he’s fresh and other times he may look tired and I’d rather make that decision then, than look too far ahead,” Julien said. “And that’s not to say that during that week I say, ‘Well maybe we can use him for these games and we’ll use the other goaltender for those ones.’ I do those things but I don’t necessarily stick to them as if it’s carved in stone. So I like to make decisions based on what I see and feel and what I think is right.”

Caron on a mission

It was evident a season ago that the Bruins were not happy with Caron’s development path. The talented forward spent the majority of the season with the P-Bruins. When he returned to Boston after the P-Bruins’ playoff run ended, Caron still couldn’t crack the lineup when the Bruins needed reinforcements due to injuries.

[+] EnlargeJordan Caron
AP Photo/Michael DwyerJordan Caron, who spent the majority of last season in Providence, gets a fresh slate in Boston.
Caron admits he lost his confidence last season but believes it has returned, and still being on the roster helps.

“I know I can do it,” he said. “I just need to go out there, play my game, be confident and good things will happen.”

When he arrived at camp, he was noticeably more engaged and focused.

“The last couple of games I thought there was a little bit more urgency in his game, in doing the things we talked about,” Julien said. “His whole camp was what we know about Jordan. He was reliable and doing the things he has to do. But we asked him to do a little bit more.”

Caron worked on the penalty-killing unit. Offensively, he went to the net more and created more chances.

“That has to continue,” Julien said. “He’s 23 years old, he’s still a young player, and he’s a player that an organization doesn’t want to give up on too early. So we feel as coaches that we can help him improve and we’re going to work with him to make him improve in those areas.”

High expectations for Smith

Reilly Smith also impressed during training camp.

From the start, he was working the wing on the third line with center Chris Kelly. As training camp numbers decreased, Julien decided Soderberg, Kelly and Smith could work as the team’s third line.

Smith, who was one of the prospects the Bruins received from Dallas as part of the Tyler Seguin trade last summer, has 42 games of NHL experience with the Stars. The Bruins heavily scouted Dallas last season and were impressed with what they saw in Smith. The one thing Boston’s management wanted to see from Smith was more tenacity and grit, and he’s added that to his game with the Bruins.

As a result, the 22-year-old right wing earned a spot on the roster.

“It’s a great feeling, obviously, to be a part of this group,” Smith said. “But it doesn’t stop here. I’ve got to keep doing the same thing that I was doing to make this team.

“Playing with Kells and Soderberg is great,” added Smith. “There are two real good players and they help me a lot. It’s a competitive atmosphere here, so I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

After Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli rebuilt the team’s roster last summer, the depth in the organization was evident. He knew there would be an influx of youth for the 2013-2014 season. What he and Julien witnessed during training camp was satisfying and the team is ready to drop on puck for real on Thursday.

Final buzzer: Competition on D, in goal

September, 18, 2013
BOSTON -- After Boston's top four defensemen of Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk, it will be a true competition between Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski for the final two spots on the blue line.

Hamilton, Krug and Bartkowski have all played well in the first week of camp and into the preseason exhibition schedule. But one of those three will serve as the healthy scratch once the season starts, so the competition should be intense and healthy.

"We don't have to spell that out to them," said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. "I spoke openly to the group about competition. I'm really looking forward to seeing the competition at all levels, at all positions.

"Common sense would dictate right now that it would be those three guys for those two spots. They've embraced it and they've played well. I thought Dougie had a good game [Tuesday night]. He was strong on the puck and made some good plays and closed well as the game progressed. Torey and Bart, the other night in Montreal, they both played well."

Chiarelli added that no spot is guaranteed, but when asked if he would be comfortable seeing Hamilton play for the P-Bruins at some point instead of watching from press level as the healthy scratch, the GM said: "My goal is to have him in the NHL."

* With two exhibition games in the books, all four goalies have each played half of a game. Tuukka Rask and Niklas Svedberg played Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals, while Chad Johnson and Malcolm Subban played Monday at Montreal. The latter three are competing for the backup role behind Rask.

"We're all competitive and we all want to be out there," Rask said. "I haven't paid too much attention to that yet but I'm sure as the camp keeps going further and further I'll get to practice with the other goalies and see how they're doing."

Camp has been split into two groups, so Rask has been on the ice with Svedberg all week.

"I thought he made some key saves out there," Rask said of Svedberg's performance Tuesday night. "I thought he was solid."

* Bruins forward Daniel Paille did not practice Wednesday, but both Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien said it had nothing to do with hockey, simply saying Paille was ill and expected back on the ice Thursday.

* While it's a possibility Gregory Campbell could return to game action Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden, teammate Patrice Bergeron still needs more time, according to Julien, but the coach added it's a possibility Bergeron could play Saturday at Detroit.

* Rask's spirited temper is in midseason form. During the last drill of Wednesday's practice, he took a couple of shots up high and had a few goals scored on him. He stormed off the ice, smashed his stick into pieces against the boards and threw his gloves down the hallway. Afterward, he was fine, saying he's not a fan of the neutral zone scrimmage.

* The Bruins made their first round of cuts Wednesday afternoon. Camp invites Scott Campbell, Jack Downing, Steven Spinell and Ben Youds will join the Providence Bruins training camp, while Tyler Randell and Adam Morrison have been assigned to Providence.

Final buzzer: Bruins 6, Canadiens 3

September, 16, 2013
Jarome IginlaEric Bolte/USA TODAY SportsJarome Iginla celebrates one of his two goals with his new linemates David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
The Bruins can move on from Nathan Horton and let him enjoy playing under the radar for the Columbus Blue Jackets because, after one exhibition game at least, his replacement in Boston, Jarome Iginla, fit perfectly on the team’s top line along with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

After Horton’s surprise departure from Boston during the summer as a free agent, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli signed Iginla in hopes the future Hall of Famer would have an impact in Boston.

During the first four days of training camp, the chemistry between Lucic, Krejci and Iginla was evident. It continued during the Bruins’ first preseason game against the Montreal Canadiens Monday night at Bell Centre.

Iginla scored a pair of goals as the Bruins defeated the Canadiens, 6-3, as Lucic added three assists and Krejci contributed a goal.

VERY SPECIAL: Boston’s power play, which has struggled the last few seasons, was tremendous against Montreal. Sure, it’s only a preseason game, but Boston went 4-for-6 on the PP and showed quick puck movement and quality goals. The top unit Monday night of Iginla, Lucic, Krejci, Carl Soderberg and Torey Krug was outstanding.

KRUG IMPRESSIVE: The phenom rookie defenseman doesn’t want to be a flash in the pan, and by the way he played in the first preseason game, that won’t be the case. He provided three assists to help Boston to victory. He burst onto the scene for the Bruins last spring during the Stanley Cup playoffs and made significant contributions to help Boston reach the finals. He entered camp in great shape and with one goal: to earn a roster spot. Krug, who has shown an ability to get his shot from the point through on a consistent basis, assisted on Iginla’s second goal of the night. Krug also quarterbacked the power play. So far this preseason, he’s been paired with veteran blueliner Adam McQuaid.

IN GOAL: The Bruins had goaltenders Chad Johnson and Malcolm Subban split net time against the Canadiens. Johnson started and played the first 30 minutes and allowed three goals. Subban made his NHL preseason debut and did not allow a goal in his 30 minutes of action. Early in the third period, however, Subban learned he’s no longer playing junior hockey. He mishandled the puck to the left of his net, then was penalized for playing the puck outside the trapezoid. Subban played against his older brother, Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, for the first time in their respective careers. Malcolm picked up the win with his 12-save performance, while P.K. scored a goal for Montreal.

BATTLING FOR A SPOT: There are two forward positions up for grabs in Boston’s lineup this season, and while the young homegrown prospects in camp are all in the mix, newcomer Nick Johnson made his presence known in the first preseason game, scoring a pair of goals. Johnson has 104 games of NHL experience with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild and Phoenix Coyotes. Boston signed the 27-year-old forward as a free agent in July.

LINED UP: Here are the lines used against the Canadiens:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla
Matt Fraser-Carl Soderberg-Craig Cunningham
Anthony Camara-Ryan Spooner-Nick Johnson
Daniel Paille-Alex Fallstrom-Shawn Thornton

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Matt Bartkowski-Kevan Miller
Tommy Cross-Zach Trotman

Chad Johnson
Malcolm Subban

UP NEXT: With the first of seven preseason games in the book, the Bruins travel to Baltimore on Tuesday and will face the Washington Capitals.

Backup goalie spot up for grabs

September, 15, 2013
BOSTON -- There are four goalies in Bruins camp battling for the backup role behind starter Tuukka Rask.

Chad Johnson, Niklas Svedberg and Malcolm Subban are all vying for that job in a healthy competition.

“It’s been good,” coach Claude Julien said. “I think when you look at the candidates, we’ve got some pretty good depth. From the fact that Chad Johnson has looked really good and Svedberg, who proved himself in the American League last year, and your first-round pick, Subban, who obviously is a little young and may not be ready right away but who knows when he’ll be ready as far as it could be sooner than later.

“So we’ve got some good competition back there and the competition has probably better depth than what most people think, so I’m comfortable with what I’ve seen and I think they understand that. Those guys that are battling for that backup spot understand what’s at stake. They’re certainly trying to be at their best here.”

Svedberg, 23, was outstanding for Providence last season, recording a 37-8-2 record with a 2.17 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 48 regular-season games.

Johnson, 27, has spent the majority of his career in the AHL and has 10 games of NHL experience between the New York Rangers and Phoenix Coyotes. He signed a one-year, one-way contract worth $600,000 in July.

Subban, 19, enters his first professional season and is expected to be the starting goalie for the P-Bruins.

Adam Morrison, 22, also is in camp. He spent the majority of the 2012-13 season in the ECHL.

Svedberg has played well during camp and he’s looking forward to the challenge of the preseason games.

“It’s been good,” Svedberg said. “It’s good intensity and guys are competing hard. It’s really nice to start off the season and get going right away. It’s been fun.”

Since Rask will play the majority of the games during the season, the backup’s ice time will be limited. Still, it’s a position all four candidates would rather play than getting more playing time in the minors.

“You want to play, but at the same time you want to come up to the highest level,” Svedberg said. “My only mindset now is to make the team here and to be in the NHL. That’s all my focus goes to now and we’ll see how well I play and see what happens after that. But at this moment I’m just focused on being here and staying here.”

Svedberg served as the Bruins’ black ace goalie during the final two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring. It was a valuable experience, and even though he’s still developing and honing his skills, Julien believes if the young goalie is ready for the NHL level, then that’s where he’ll be.

“That remains to be seen. I think if he’s ready, he’s ready. It’s as simple as that,” Julien said. “If we feel he’s ready to be a backup here, we’ll make him a backup here. I think if he earns a job I have no issues with him being here even if he’s got one year in the American League. He had a great year last year and if we feel he’s ready, then make that jump.”
BOSTON -- Now that former Boston Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin has signed with the Carolina Hurricanes, Providence Bruins netminder Niklas Svedberg could be next in line to be the backup in Boston behind Tuukka Rask for the 2013-2014 season.

Svedberg could face competition for Boston's backup goalie spot from Chad Johnson, whom the Bruins signed Friday to a one-year, one-way contract worth $600,000.

Svedberg, 23, was outstanding for the P-Bruins last season and recorded a 37-8-2 record with a 2.17 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in 48 games during the regular season. During the Calder Cup playoffs, he posted a 6-6 record with a 3.29 GAA and a .889 save percentage.

It was Svedberg's first season playing in North America. Prior to signing with the Bruins and being assigned to Providence, he played four seasons in the Swedish Elite League.

"It was a good season to learn a lot of new things, and to play over here and to adjust to the game over here. It's been a good year, a long season and hopefully it'll help me next year," Svedberg said.

After the P-Bruins' season was over, the Bruins recalled Svedberg from Providence and he served as Boston's third goaltender during the playoffs.

"I think it was good for next year, just to see how everything works up here and get to know the guys and everything," he said. "It'll be good for next year."

During the team's exit meetings, the Bruins told Svedberg to work on his strength training in preparation for training camp.

"Get a little bit stronger and work on my physical part, just stuff like that," Svedberg said. "It'll be a short summer but I'll try to focus on my strength. I'll try to have a good summer, get ready for camp and take it from there."