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Bruins clinch playoff spot as Patrick Roy pulls his goalie super early 03.21.14 at 11:30 pm ET
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The Bruins became the first team in the NHL to clinch a playoff spot, as Chad Johnson picked up a hard-earned shutout with a 2-0 victory over the Avalanche. The win was Boston’s 11th straight, while it was the team’s seventh straight playoff berth.

The win streak is Boston’s third-longest, as the B’s are three away from the 14 in a row they won in 1929-30. Tying that will be tough, as the B’s next three games are against the Coyotes, Canadiens and Blackhawks.

Patrice Bergeron scored the only goal of the first period as the Bruins kept their opponent scoreless in the first period for the 10th straight game. The B’s have not trailed since March 9 in Florida.

The Bruins made it 2-0 in the second period on a Carl Soderberg power play goal. The B’s held on from there, despite Colorado coach Patrick Roy pulling Semyon Varlomov with five minutes remaining in the game. To Roy’s credit, the Bruins did not score an empty net goal.

Johnson made 30 saves in the game, improving his record to 16-3-1 on the season and getting his second shutout of the season.

The Bruins will face the Coyotes Saturday in Phoenix before returning to Boston to face the Canadiens Monday.


- Johnson was superb for the B’s as he got the start in two straight games for the second time all year. He had to make 24 saves over the first two periods, the biggest of which was on a Maxime Talbot partial breakaway off of a Chris Kelly neutral zone turnover. Johnson stopped Talbot’s backhand bid, among several other strong opportunities for Colorado.

- Dougie Hamilton played a pretty big role in both Boston goals. The 20-year-old took a pass from Bergeron on his backhand, moved across the blue line as he put it back on his forehand and slid the pass down low to Bergeron, who put the puck on net and buried the rebound.

In the second period, Hamilton did a good job of keeping Talbot’s clearing bid in the zone and fed Eriksson, who gave the puck to Soderberg before bolting to the net. From there, Eriksson, who is exceptional at screening the goalie without having to tip pucks, got in Varlamov’s way as Soderberg fired a wrester that beat the Avalanche netminder.

- Here’s something you don’t see every day: Kevan Miller all Bruins in time on ice in the first two periods with 15:13. Zdeno Chara played 13:23 over the first two, though he took a high-sticking penalty late in the first period.


- The Bruins had more defensive breakdowns than usual, meaning Johnson had to be good in order for them to hold the lead. The most notable one was on Talbot’s partial break in the second period off Kelly’s giveaway.

Johnson was also kept busy on a first-period shift from David Krejci‘s line in which both Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic were unable to get the puck out, leading to a couple of chances for Paul Stastnsy.

- The Bruins were outshot, 14-6, in the first period, though they came out of the period unscathed.

- This isn’t something that went wrong for the Bruins, but once again: Patrick Roy pulled his goalie with five minutes left. If that isn’t a different brand of fantastic I don’t know what is.

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Bruins pregame: Daniel Paille cleared for return, Chad Johnson starts in net 03.15.14 at 12:33 pm ET
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Bruins fans will welcome back Daniel Paille Saturday against Carolina. (AP)

Bruins fans will welcome back Daniel Paille Saturday against Carolina. (AP)

Winners of seven straight, the Bruins will welcome back one forward and another making his NHL debut. Bruins coach Claude Julien announced before Saturday’s game with Carolina that Daniel Paille, who has missed the last five games with concussion symptoms, has been cleared to return to game action.

Asked if he will be available and will play, Julien was more coy with reporters pre-game.

“Could be,” Julien said with a smile. “Probably. You’ll have to make some deductions. right? I have to keep you guys on your toes. I’m too predictable.”

Chad Johnson will make his 18th start in net for the Bruins after Tuukka Rask started both games of the back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday in Montreal and home against Phoenix.

The other big story Saturday is the NHL debut of 23-year-old forward Matt Linblad, a Friday call-up from Providence.

“It’€™s pretty special,” Julien said. “I’€™m sure he’€™s dreamed of playing in the NHL, and exhibition games are one thing, and this is the real deal right now. But at the same time, I think he’€™s earned it. He’€™s played really well. I liked his training camp, I liked his, again, his hockey knowledge and his hockey IQ.

“Hockey sense is always an important part of any player at this level, and he has that. He’€™s a smart individual, so you put that with the good skater that he he is, and it makes for a pretty decent player. So we have high hopes for him and there’€™s an opportunity for him to show he’€™s gotten better over the course of the season.”

During pre-game warmups, Linblad was skating on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, leaving Shawn Thornton as the odd man out.

Julien also announced that, after playing in three straight games, defenseman Andrej Meszaros would get the day off, giving Torey Krug more time on the blue line as well as the power play.

“There’€™s going to be some changes here as we go along, and I think [Meszaros] has played three straight games and we’€™ve continued to work with him,” Julien said. “So, we certainly don’€™t want to let our other players that have been here be pushed aside because of trades. So it’€™s just managing that whole back end.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Chad Johnson, Claude Julien, Daniel Paille
Chad Johnson earns first shutout with Bruins in win over Oilers 02.01.14 at 3:31 pm ET
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Chad Johnson recorded his first shutout as a Bruin to lead the B’s past Edmonton, 4-0, Saturday at TD Garden.

Johnson made 22 saves on the day, good for his second career shutout. The backup netminder had a 21-save shutout last Jan. 28 against the Predators while playing for Phoenix.

David Krejci made it 1-0 on a second-period power play with a shot that went off Ryan Jones’ skate and past Ben Scrivens. Dougie Hamilton built on the lead with a wraparound goal in the third period, with Carl Soderberg picking his eighth goal of the season just over six minutes later. Torey Krug made it 4-0 on a power-play goal.

Soderberg (a goal and an assist), Zdeno Chara (two assists) and Jarome Iginla (two assists) turned in multi-point performances for the Bruins.

The win was Boston’s fifth in its last six games, as the B’s had won four straight before suffering a 4-1 loss to the Canadiens.

Saturday also marked the return of former Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference. The Edmonton native and Oilers captain was greeted with a standing ovation was acknowledged with a video during a first period stoppage of play.

The Bruins now enter the final week prior to the Olympic break. They will host the Canucks Tuesday, face the Blues in St. Louis on Thursday and play the Senators at TD Garden Saturday.


- Hamilton now has back-to-back goals for the first time in his career. He did all of the work on his goal Saturday, taking the puck to the net, getting his own rebound and going behind the net for the wraparound.

- Daniel Paille‘s been earning some power plays for the Bruins of late, drawing three penalties in his last three
games and four in his last five games. Two of the last three — Tuesday’s hook from Mike Weaver and Saturday’s trip from Jeff Petry — came off him using his speed to go to the net. He was also interfered with by Jordan Eberle during a second-period penalty kill in which he had previously been stopped by Scrivens on a shorthanded breakaway.

- The B’s survived a couple of injury scares, as Kevan Miller returned to the game in short order after blocking a shot with his right hand/wrist in the first period and Shawn Thornton returned for the second period after going down the tunnel and missing all but one shift of the first period due to a fight with Luke Gazdic.

- In picking up the secondary assist on Hamilton’s goal and scoring a goal of his own, Carl Soderberg now has a four-game point streak (two goals, three assists).


- Loui Eriksson had a goal disallowed in the second period when a review led officials to the conclusion that there was a distinct kicking motion. Eriksson angled his skate toward the net as he took a feed from Matt Bartkowski down low, with the puck going off his skate and in. Though the exact phrasing “distinct kicking motion” is tough, he did move his foot forward as he tried to angle it, making for a kick, whether intentional or not. The goal would have been Eriksson’s fourth point in four games.

- Speaking of Eriksson, he turned in a candidate for the most accidentally hilarious move of the year when he did this in the second period:

- Patrice Bergeron‘s line has now gone three games without a goal. It had been red-hot in mid-to-late January.

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Canadiens chase Tuukka Rask, beat Bruins 01.30.14 at 9:39 pm ET
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The Canadiens interrupted the Bruins’ recent hot streak Thursday, taking a 4-1 contest at TD Garden and improving to 2-0-0 against the B’s this season.

Tuukka Rask was pulled for the fourth time this season and dropped to 2-10-2 in his career against the Canadiens. He allowed three goals on 18 shots before being pulled a little over halfway through the second period. Chad Johnson allowed one goal in relief.

The Habs got on the board 2:16 into the game when an Alexei Emelin shot from the point went through plenty of traffic but didn’t appear to hit anything on its way past Rask. Max Pacioretty made it 2-0 later in the period when he took a feed from Brendan Gallagher off a Daniel Paille turnover, flew down the wing and held off Johnny Boychuk on his way to beating Rask five-hole.

Dougie Hamilton got the B’s on the board at 15:38 of the first when a shot from the point hit a Montreal body and got past Peter Budaj, but it would be Boston’s only goal of the night. A Brian Gionta power-play goal at 11:54 of the second chased Rask, and a Daniel Briere breakaway goal on Johnson made it a three-goal lead for the Habs.

The loss snapped the Bruins’ four-game winning streak. The B’s have four games left before the Olympic break and will host Andrew Ference and the Oilers on Saturday.


– Rask has now been pulled four times this season, all of which have come in the last month and a half. Rask was pulled Dec. 14 against the Canucks, Dec. 28 in Ottawa and Jan. 9 in Los Angeles. Though Gionta’s goal was the only particularly bad one he allowed, getting yanked at least four times in a season isn’t a great thing to have on a Vezina resume.

– The Bruins had scored six goals in three straight games (3-0-0) prior to Thursday’s game, but they were able to muster exactly one sixth of that mark Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Peter Budaj, Tuukka Rask
Chad Johnson played last 7 1/2 minutes of second period with one contact lens 01.17.14 at 12:44 am ET
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DALLAS — When Stars forward Alex Chiasson went for a wraparound at 12:28 in the second period Thursday night, the result wasn’t pretty for Chad Johnson.

While that might seem like the same old story given Johnson’s difficulty with wraparounds, it was far different. Chiasson didn’t score, but Johnson got hit in the eye with Zdeno Chara‘s stick in front, leaving the backup goaltender bloodied, confused and, as he would later find out, down a contact lens.

Chara’s stick went through Johnson’s mask, cut him just below the eye and rode up over it. Johnson fell to the ice in pain, and when trainer Don DelNegro came to the ice to tend to him, he took off his mask to reveal both a bloodied face and a look that was half confusion and half fear.

“I had a feeling it was his stick or somebody’s stick, because I could feel the blade hit and kind of flip up and kind of jab and flip up on my eye, so I knew it was a stick,” Johnson said after the Bruins’ 4-2 win over Dallas. “It happened so fast, and it was just a scary, scary kind of feeling.”

Johnson stayed in the game, though his vision was blurry. He couldn’t see well out of his left eye, and he assumed that Chara had scratched his contact. Johnson, who has played with contact lenses since he was in college (at least six or seven years, by his estimation), figured he would play with the busted contact for the rest of the period.

“I knew there was only about seven minutes or something [left],” Johnson said, “so I just kind of said ‘screw it’ and then threw it in during the intermission.”

When he got to the dressing room at intermission, he realized there was no contact there at all, and that it had been knocked out altogether. That would explain the difficulty he had seeing out of the eye until the intermission.

Blurry vision or not, Johnson was strong for the B’s in his first start in nearly a month (Dec. 19). He allowed two goals, with the first coming on an unlucky bounce in which a Tyler Seguin pass to Erik Cole on the power play bounced off a falling Cole’s stick and went up and over his shoulder. The other goal came from Jamie Benn in front with 1:11 remaining. Johnson finished with 32 saves on 34 shots, with a nice cut to show for it.

“I didn’t know how serious he was, but he just came back and had the little cut there [below] his eye, but he was good tonight,” Claude Julien said. “I thought he played a real solid game and was square to the puck all night long, so it was a good outing for him.”

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Chad Johnson addresses the wraparound issue 12.20.13 at 1:00 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Lateral mobility has cost Chad Johnson more than he’d like, but he doesn’t think it’s his Achilles’ heel.

The Bruins’ backup couldn’t get from post to post in time to stop Drew Stafford on a wraparound in the third period Thursday night. The goal broke a 2-2 tie and cost the B’s the game.

“It was a brutal third goal,” Johnson admitted Friday. “I want it back. We’d played a pretty good game up to that point, and you let a soft one in in a 2-2 game with [six] minutes left, you put your team in a bad situation. It’s obviously one that I want back, but there’s nothing I can do about it now. It sucks.”

It was the second such goal Johnson’s allowed in his last two starts, as he was also slow to get over on a David Perron wraparound last Thursday in Edmonton.

“The one in Edmonton, I played that one obviously wrong,” Johnson said. “It’s just different situations I think. It’s not that I have problems with wraparounds, it’s just that right now that’s what’s been happening I guess. It’s all I can really say.”

So is the book out on Johnson? He says no. Johnson doesn’t like that he was exposed on wraparounds twice in two starts, but he sees it as more of an effort issue than an ability issue. As such, he doesn’t plan on letting it happen again soon.

“Well I mean they’ve scored two goals, so it’s something I’m going to work on,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a weakness for the most part. On the last one there I was a little lazy on it. It’s just one thing I need to correct. I don’t think it’s a technical thing or something like that.”

B’s coach Claude Julien agrees with Johnson’s assessment. He feels Johnson can push off and cover the other side quicker, and that with awareness of the issue and practice the issue can be resolved.

“That’s exactly it, and that’s why we’ve got a goalie coach that works with those guys and works on those deficiencies,” he said. “You’ve got to get better at that, and that’s what he’s doing today — working with Bob [Essensa] and trying to get better at it.”

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Chad Johnson, Jarome Iginla lead Bruins past Oilers 12.13.13 at 12:09 am ET
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Chad Johnson

Chad Johnson

The Bruins continued what’s been a successful road trip Thursday with a 4-2 win over the Oilers at Rexall Place.

Boston jumped out to a 3-0 lead after a first period in which Dennis Seidenberg scored on one of his famous fake dump-ins, Jarome Iginla sent a puck past both a screening Milan Lucic and Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk, and Brad Marchand tallied a shorthanded goal.

Dubnyk was replaced by Jason LaBarbera at the start of the second period, and the Oilers got back in the game with a pair of goals from David Perron. After the Bruins were able to kill off a pair of late penalties in the third period, Iginla sealed the win for the B’s with an empty-netter.

Picking up the win for the Bruins was Chad Johnson, who improved to 6-1-0 on the season. Johnson made a career-high 39 saves in the win.

The Bruins will wrap up their West Coast road trip Saturday with their first trip back to Vancouver since winning the Stanley Cup there in 2011.


– Johnson gave up a couple of bad goals in the second period, but he came up huge with a glove save on Nail Yakupov from the slot five minutes into the third period on a play that could have tied the game. He then made another stop on a Jordan Eberle shot with the Oukers on a man advantage midway through the third.

– The Bruins came up big on that third-period interference penalty on Marchand, as a unit of Gregory Campbell, Jordan Caron, Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk silenced the Oilers on a very lengthy possession that saw Boychuk block a one-timer from Eberle.

The Bruins had an easier time on a Dennis Seidenberg penalty with just over three minute to play, as the B’s cleared the puck regularly against a desperate Oilers team late.

– The occasionally sneaky Seidenberg was up to his old tricks again for the Bruins’ first goal. Taking the puck through the neutral zone, Seidenberg looked to be dumping the puck into the offensive zone until he fired a wrist shot at the blue line that fooled Dubnyk. Remember, this is the same guy who had a pair of center-ice goals over the last few years, one of which came when he gained the red line and, faked a dump-in and threw a wrist shot past Mike Smith back on Dec. 2, 2010.

– It isn’t necessarily a good thing given that it took Lucic off the ice, but Lucic said recently that he expected to get to his usual six or seven fights a season and he meant it. Though his Nov. 30 fight against Dalton Prout was just his first bout of the season, Lucic’s fight Thursday with Luke Gazdic marked his third fight of the season, all of which have occurred over the last six games.


– The B’s had another injury scare when Seidenberg got hit up high by a shot from the point. Seidenberg turned his head in time to not get hit in the face by the puck, but he was still down for a few moments, with trainer Don DelNegro tending to him on the ice. Fortunately for the banged-up Bruins, Seidenberg stayed in the game.

– The Oilers stepped up their game big-time in the second period, and it was capped by a bad goal late. Johnson, making a save off a puck Perron had tipped from Eberle, poked the puck with his blocker right back to Perron at the side of the net, with Perron then scoring on a wraparound.

– On the subject of Perron’s goals, neither of them were good goals for Johnson to allow. Perhaps Seidenberg was screening him on the Oilers’ first goal, as there’s no other excuse to not stop the wrist shot that beat him stick side high.

– His line was used as a fourth line, but Ryan Spooner‘s struggles at the faceoff dot weren’t an issue. Why? Because his line was only on the ice for one faceoff and he won it. That’s one way to solve the problem. Spooner was given only two shifts in the third period and didn’t play the final 12 minutes of regulation as Claude Julien shortened his bench in a one-goal game.

Campbell took most of the faceoffs for the Bruins, going 11-for-23. Spooner finished with just 8:16 of ice time.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Chad Johnson, Jarome Iginla,
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