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Chad Johnson Proving He's Ready for Consistent NHL Backup Role

Sunday, 09.22.2013 / 10:48 AM
By Caryn Switaj - BostonBruins.com / Bruins Blog
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Chad Johnson Proving He\'s Ready for Consistent NHL Backup Role

BostonBruins.com - Goaltender Chad Johnson didn't have the best showing in Montreal, in the Bruins' first preseason game. He let in three goals off eight shots, splitting the game with Malcolm Subban in an eventual 6-3 B's win.

But that didn't stop him from following up his next outing, a full-60 between the pipes in Detroit, with a 2-0 shutout, stopping all 18 shots he faced from the Red Wings in the process.

"Half a game doesn't make a career, right? Either way. So he had a chance to redeem himself here," B's Head Coach Claude Julien said following the victory.

"Although we played well in front of him, there was a lot of tough shots, a lot of traffic, a lot of screens….he played well, he made the saves that he had to make and he was much better."

"Felt pretty good. It was a better game to get settled into. Obviously it was only the second exhibition game so there's still some adjusting, looking at the game," Johnson told a handful of reporters after his shutout, his first - albeit in preseason - in the spoked-B. "But it was a good turnout in the end."

Prior to the game, Johnson said said he was focusing on having a "short memory," one of the best assets for a goaltender.

That short memory may prove true after both losses and wins, but the netminder was pleased with the sharper performance.

"For the most part, for myself, I already know that I can play," he said. "So it's not really proving to myself that I can do it; I think it's proving to even you guys and proving to the organization that I can compete at this level."

"Obviously, the first game wasn't very good but again, it's exhibition. The real test is always in the season. Obviously I didn't play well in Montreal and played well [Saturday night] but again, you know, they know what I can do. So I think these exhibition games are just building blocks for the season."

The netminder has 10 games of NHL experience with the Phoenix Coyotes and New York Rangers (where his teammates called him 'Ocho'), through which he earned a 1.97 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. Having spent four seasons in the AHL, with 170 games played and a .909 save percentage, Johnson is eager to prove himself with Boston.

"I don't think I've established myself at all as an NHL goalie," Johnson had been pretty quick and honest to say a few weeks ago, when he first arrived to Boston for training camp. "I think it takes quite a few years to do that, and I think you always have to prove yourself, even if you've been in this league for five or 10 years, it doesn't really matter, so for me, this is definitely my opportunity to get my foot in the door and I hope to take advantage of it."

"Getting an opportunity to be in the league and come in and actually compete for a back-up spot, and for me, it was just an advantage being part of a contending team," he had added, of his choice to sign as a free agent with Boston back on July 5. "

"I think every player in this league wants to be part of a winning team and have the chance to be there at the end, and this is it right here."

After one and a half preseason games suiting up with Boston, Johnson knows there's still a ways to go, but he's not shying away from the fact that there's competition for the backup role behind Tuukka Rask, with 2012-13 AHL Goalie of the Year Niklas Svedberg also vying for the spot with the big club.

"I think I just want to prepare for the season. I think if you focus too much on just the competing part, you start worrying about what he's doing and you forget about what you'r supposed to do yourself," said Johnson. "So, again, for me, it's just having good exhibition games, working on my fundamentals in the game, and my focus."

"And obviously, I want to have good outings and show well but for myself, I know what I can do in the regular season and again, it's just the building block of the exhibition to the season."

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