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Chad Johnson turning his training camp around

Though his preseason had an ugly start, Chad Johnson [1] clearly isn’t ready to give up on an NHL [2] job with the Bruins.

Johnson, who was signed as a free agent this summer following the departure of Anton Khudobin, wasn’t anything special in the first few days of training camp and then turned in a woeful performance in his preseason debut, allowing three goals on eight shots against the Canadiens last Monday. The first of those goals came when he couldn’t glove an easy wrister and allowed the Habs to score on the rebound. Though it was just the first game of the preseason, it looked as though Niklas Svedberg may have become the favorite by not even playing.

Yet Johnson’s second start was drastically different. Playing the whole game against the Red Wings Saturday, Johnson stopped all 18 shots he saw in a shutout performance that he felt was more like him than his other start.

As things stand right now, the competition for Tuukka Rask [3]‘s backup job would seem to remain open between Johnson and Svedberg. As Johnson looks at things, he doesn’t feel his poor first impression should be read too much into.

“It was my first period in three months. I obviously didn’t finish last [season] in the NHL [4], so you’re coming in having to adjust to the speed and getting comfortable there,” he said. “There’s obviously a little bit of an adjustment, so I was trying to catch up to pucks that first game and trying to get comfortable. There’s going to be mistakes and it didn’t go the way I wanted it to, so I just wanted to regroup and get back to my game and do the little things and get comfortable in the game like I’ve always done.”

Johnson, 27, is a veteran of 10 NHL [2] games. In four games last season, he went 2-0-2 with a shutout while posting a .954 save percentage and 1.21 goals-against average.

The former Ranger and Coyote has played the vast majority of his professional career in the AHL, but he says that he actually finds it easier to get good reads on plays at the NHL [4] level, since players are making less mistakes.

As such, he’s trying to making the most of whatever preseason ice time he can get at the NHL level, regardless of whether he sticks in Boston for the season.

“I think the way I play and the way my style is, it suits the speed and the style of the NHL game,” Johnson said. “That’s why I think I’ve always had success at this level. Down in the minors, it’s a different game, different speed. Guys have a little more time, they miss their shots, they miss their passes.

“For me, it’s hard to read the plays sometimes because they don’t happen the way they should happen. At this level, and in the last game, you can read plays and see things happen. For myself at this level, it helps my game because I like to see everything in front of me and make reads so I have success when I’ve had the opportunity to play at this level.”