If you ask any coach in the National Hockey League what is one of the most underrated aspects of the build of their team is, a majority of them would say a backup goaltender.
On this night for the Boston Bruins where workhorse Tuukka Rask got a night off, backup goaltender Chad Johnson filled in seamlessly and led his team to a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Black and Gold ended their five-game home stand at 4-0-1.
“I thought he was good,” head coach Claude Julien said about Johnson’s performance. “When you look in the third period, they had a couple of good chances especially on the power-play and point blank shots and he made some really good saves. Little breakdowns where he had to face guys one-on-one and I thought he played really well. So, really pleased for him and I’m sure the players are happy for him as well.”
Julien believes this game can help boost the confidence of Johnson moving forward even though he has been solid all year long.
“Yeah and he wasn’t bad last time out, we didn’t play well in front of him,” he said. “I think he deserved better and he got better tonight. It was a bit of a challenge, but we persevered and a big goal there in overtime there by Looch (Milan Lucic) and you leave here with a big two points.”
Johnson finished the night with 32 saves and notched his second win of the season. He now sits at 2-1 with a .917 save percentage.
Johnson was one of the more animated players on the ice when Lucic buried the game-winning goal Thursday night.
“When I saw him go on a breakaway, I put my head down and I was like ‘Oh, please score,’ because these are points we need,” Johnson said. “There are always teams you think you should get points off of and we really wanted to get the two points tonight. So, when he had the breakaway there, it was pretty exciting and for him to score, I was real excited.”
Johnson was satisfied that he got to celebrate with his teammates after the win as he was happy to be a big part of the team’s victory.
“Yeah, it’s just nice to get two points,” Johnson said. “I get in once every two weeks and I try and work as hard as I can in practice to make myself ready for these situations. It was a big two points for us and we were all excited to get the two points.”
There’s no denying that Tuukka is still this team’s workhorse. But with another back-to-back looming early next week, look for Johnson to get another start in the near future.