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Backup goalie competition far from settled as Niklas Svedberg awaits first start

With the Bruins headed north to play their final two games of the preseason, there’s still one thing that they need to see: Niklas Svedberg play an entire game. He’ll do that Thursday against the Jets.

The reigning AHL goaltender of the year played the second half of last week’s shootout win over the Capitals in Baltimore, but to this point Chad Johnson [1] has seen more game action. Johnson struggled in allowing three goals on eight shots in Montreal last week but bounced back with a shutout Saturday against the Red Wings.

At this point, Johnson would appear to have the upper hand in the competition simply because he’s played more and has a good performance under his belt. Yet the competition for Tuukka Rask [2]‘s backup remains wide open between the two, and Svedberg will get his chance Thursday. Rask will then play the preseason finale Friday and have a bit of a wait before the season-opener next Thursday.

Svedberg had a woeful practice Wednesday, as skaters scored on him in bunches during drills. In particular, he was beaten stick side numerous times, and his glove wasn’t much better. Afterwards, Claude Julien [3] cautioned against getting carried away with practices.

“To be honest with you, I don’t put too much value in those practices,” Julien said. “There are guys that get lit up in practice but you can’t get a puck by them in a game, and vice versa. To me, it’s evaluating guys in game situations. As long as he has a good work ethic in practice and has a good attitude, I’m good with that, but at the end of the day it’s what you do in game situations. This is the opportunity we’re going to have to see him tomorrow.”