Was it not a little over a month ago where Bruins fans were questioning why Peter Chiarelli didn’t resign Anton Khudobin for an extra couple hundred thousand over Chad Johnson?
Well, over his last two starts against the Kings and Stars, Johnson has turned in back-to-back stellar outings allowing two goals in each contest.
Dating back to December 28th, Johnson has allowed only six goals in four games. He is starting to regain the form he had at the beginning of the year when Bruins fans had confidence in him spelling their workhorse Tuukka Rask.
With an 8-3 record, 2.24 goals against average and a .918 save percentage, Claude Julien had no hesitation starting Johnson in two of the last three games.
“I think it’s just what we had talked about, as the season went on, we’d probably have to look into it a little closer,” the Bruins coach said after Monday’s 3-2 win over the Kings.
“I thought [Chicago] was a real big game where both goaltenders had to work really hard to keep their teams in the game. I thought it was important for us – for the reasons I said earlier about LA being here and so on and so forth, to have a fresh goaltender in there. I think the way he played in Dallas, there’s no doubt we had the confidence to put him back in there because he had played so well. And, again, wanting a fresh goaltender. That was the main reason behind it.”
This wasn’t the first time Johnson saw the Kings this season. When the B’s were out on their West Coast swing, Rask was pulled in the second period and Johnson stepped in during the team’s 4-2 loss back on January 9 at the Staples Center.
“A little bit, it was a little different of a game, but I thought we battled really hard,” Johnson said. “It was a tight game through the whole 60 minutes and came down right to the end there so those are fun games because they have that real intense feel to them it was just good to get the two points.”
Having started two of the last three games, Johnson felt confident between the pipes in a big game for the Black and Gold.
“I felt pretty good in there and the guys battled really hard and it was a tight game,” Johnson said. “We killed some penalties and scored some timely goals and it was just a good game.”
As the Bruins gain confidence in Johnson, the Hub of Hockey should do the same. Don’t believe me? Just ask Matt Bartkowski.
Tuukka Rask has been soft at times. Maybe because he is tired or maybe it is because of the loss of Dennis Seidenberg, but make no mistake about it, he is the horse the Bruins will ride for this year and beyond.
But, Chad Johnson has made a strong case lately (being the keyword) to receive more playing time with both contacts in or even one contact in. He has been very sound and reliable for the Black and Gold.