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Milan Lucic scores twice as Bruins beat Blue Jackets 11.30.13 at 9:35 pm ET
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Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic had a pair of goals and his first fight of the season as the Bruins skated to a 3-1 win over the Blue Jackets Saturday.

Picking up the win for the Bruins was Chad Johnson, who faced only 14 shots and improved to 4-1-0 on the season.

Patrice Bergeron scored the Bruins’ first goal, firing a puck past a screening Loui Eriksson and Columbus netminder Curtis McElhinney for Bergeron’s second goal in as many games. After Carl Soderberg got hooked by Ryan Johansen, Lucic tipped a Torey Krug shot in front for a power-play goal to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Lucic added his second of the game and 11th of the season with a shot that beat McElhinney high in the third period, and though the Blue Jackets got one back on a power-play goal from Johansen, the B’s were able to limit their chances throughout the night and prevent them getting back into a game in which the B’s probably could have led bigger.

The Bruins will have four days off before they play next, as their schedule will resume Thursday in Montreal for their first meeting of the season against the Canadiens.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Chad Johnson could have stayed on the bench and the teams would have been tied in the first period, as Columbus put only two shots on goal in the first 20 minutes. That followed a showing for the Bruins Friday in which they surrendered just 11 shots over the final two periods to the Rangers, so the B’s went three periods while only allowing 13 shots on goal with no goals against.

- Speaking of shots on goal, this weekend the Bruins allowed less than 20 shots on gaol in back-to-back games for the first time since April of 2002.

- Eriksson continues to reward the Bruins with his play in front. A day after his work in front led to a rebound going off Dan Girardi and in, Eriksson screened McElhinney on Bergeron’s first-period goal.

Eriksson had the pass to Dougie Hamilton before Hamilton fed it to Bergeron, so he picked up the secondary helper and now has two goals and an assist for three points against the Blue Jackets in three meetings this season.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Lucic fought Dalton Prout in the second period, and though it was a good fight between a couple of big kids, it was questionable timing on Lucic’s part. The Bruins had the puck in the offensive zone when he got tangled up with Prout in front, and though the B’s lost possession and the puck was coming out of the zone by the time the two were well into the fight, they were going at it for a few seconds beforehand.

- Jarome Iginla can’t seem to buy a goal, as he was stopped on a bid off a McElhinney rebound in the second period and, after appearing in real-time to tip Lucic’s second goal in, saw credit rightfully given to his linemate. Iginla still has just five goals through 26 games this season, but he’s turned in strong play despite not being able to find the back of the net often.

- Brad Marchand could have had his second goal in as many games were it not for a hit post in the third period. Things continue to look up for Marchand, however, and it was pretty comical seeing him take two laps around the offensive zone with the puck on a third period shift.

Scott McLaughlin contributed to this report.

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Chad Johnson likely in net for Bruins vs. Blue Jackets at 11:32 am ET
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Chad Johnson

Chad Johnson

It would appear that Chad Johnson will be between the pipes for Saturday night’s game between the Bruins and the Blue Jackets. Both Johnson and Tuukka Rask participated in an optional morning skate for the Bruins, but Rask stayed out much longer than Johnson.

Johnson has started just four of the Bruins’ 26 games this season. He is 3-1-0 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.21 goals-against average. His last start came last Saturday against the Hurricanes, with each of his last two starts resulting in overtime wins for the Bruins.

Saturday’s game is the second of a back-to-back for the Bruins, as it follows Friday’s 3-2 win over the Rangers. It’s the fifth time the Bruins have had back-to-backs this season, but the first in which the B’s haven’t had to travel. Rask has started both games of two of the Bruins’ back-to-backs thus far, with the two goalies splitting the other two to this point.

The Bruins will have four days between games following Saturday, as they won’t play again until they face the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday.

Nathan Horton did not travel to Boston and remains on long-term injury reserve for the Blue Jackets. He has yet to play for them since getting offseason shoulder surgery, though he has been skating with them since last week.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Milan Lucic the overtime hero as Chad Johnson bails out Bruins 11.14.13 at 9:40 pm ET
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On a night when Chad Johnson had to bail out the Bruins a few times, Milan Lucic gave the backup goalie a much-deserved win with an overtime goal to give the B’s a 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets.

Lucic picked up his eight goal of the season with 48.6 seconds left in overtime, beating Sergei Bobrovsky five-hole on a breakaway.

The Blue Jackets got on the board first, when Blake Comeau took a feed from Mark Letestu and fired a shot past Johnson, but the B’s were able to tie it when a Zdeno Chara wrist shot from the point went off Loui Eriksson and past reigning Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Bruins took the lead in the second period when a Shawn Thornton shot from the top of the circle went off Jack Johnson’s stick and over Bobrovsky’s glove, though a bad rebound from Chad Johnson allowed Nick Foligno to tie it.

The Blue Jackets dominated play in the third period thanks in part to a pair of penalties from the Bruins and shoddy defensive play from the B’s, but the B’s were ale to make it to overtime despite their slow finish.

The Bruins will hit the road to face the Senators Friday in Ottawa.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins dodged a major bullet on the injury front, as David Krejci lost an edge going into the corner in the first period and lost his helmet as Brandon Dubinsky hit him into the boards. There was no wrongdoing on Dubinsky’s part (he couldn’t have anticipated Krejci going into the boards the way he did as they got there), but Krejci remained down on the ice for a minute and was tended to by trainer Don DelNegro.

Krejci seemed OK as he skated off the ice, but he went down the tunnel and did not play there rest of the period. He returned for the second period, however, and showed no ill effects in staying in the game the rest of the way.

- Though Johnson at points looked like someone who was shaking off rust, he came up with a pair of big saves in the opening minutes of the third period on Ryan Johansen and Cam Atikinson and later with a stop on Derek MacKenzie in front.

He came up big again in overtime, when a Torey turnover led to a scoring chance on which he stopped Foligno.

- In holding the Blue Jackets 0-for-4 on the power play on the night, the Bruins have now killed off 6 consecutive penalties. The last power-play goal they allowed was Chris Kunitz’ second-period tally on Oct. 30 in Pittsburgh.

- With the secondary assist on Thornton’s goal, Torey Krug now has a five-game point streak. Krug has two goals and three assists over Boston’s last five contests.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins kind of put all their eggs in one basket chasing a puck behind the net and it burned them on Comeau’s goal. Both Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton went behind the net for a puck with Mark Letestu, and when Letestu beat them both to it he was able to throw it in front to a wide-open Comeau, who beat Johnson to open the game’s scoring.

That wasn’t the extent of the Bruins’ breakdowns defensively, as they played a cleaner game in front of Johnson than they did in his last start against the Islanders, but they were so sloppy in the third period that Johnson had to be on his toes to keep the game tied.

- You cut Johnson some slack because he was playing in just his third game of the season, but he gave up a pretty bad rebound to give the Blue Jackets their second goal of the night. Johnson made a kick save on a Nikita Nikitin shot but kicked it right back in front, where Nick Foligno buried it to tie the game.

- This could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing, but the Bruins’ third line created a lot of scoring chances but couldn’t finish, as nice offensive plays by Carl Soderberg, Reilly Smith and Chris Kelly were all wasted. Nine minutes into the game, Soderberg blew past a Columbus defender at the blue line to create a 2-on-1 for the B’s, but Kelly couldn’t handle his pass.

Later in the period, Smith made a nice move down low and fired a shot that went through Bobrovsky and was headed into the corner of the net, but Ryan Murray was able to knock the puck away before it could go in or be tapped in by Soderberg.

In the second period, Kelly tipped a puck in the neutral zone around a defender to Soderberg to give him a breakaway, but Soderberg was denied on his backhand bid.

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Bruins feel they owe Chad Johnson a better game at 12:53 pm ET
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The Bruins let Chad Johnson down the last time he played. (AP)

The Bruins let Chad Johnson down the last time he played. (AP)

With Chad Johnson set to get his first start of the season at TD Garden, the Bruins are plenty motivated to give him a win. Given what happened the last time he played, they owe it to him.

Johnson hasn’t played since Nov. 2 against the Islanders, which was probably the Bruins’ worst game of their early-season dip. Johnson allowed three goals on 34 shots in a 3-1 loss, but it was the play in front of him that was the Bruins’ undoing. The Bruins gave up odd-man rushes and were dominated by New York’s top line of John Tavares between Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo in a night in which Zdeno Chara was a minus-2.

“That was a terrible outing by us, and Chad works hard and has played well when asked upon,” Chris Kelly said after Thursday’s morning skate. “We want to come out and make the game as easy as possible for him and give him some help.”

The good news for the Bruins is that they have slowly begun to turn the corner since that loss. The B’s have gotten seven of an eight possible points since then, and with a win over the Blue Jackets Thursday they can wrap up their five-game home stand with nine of a possible 10 points.

“I think every game becomes a new challenge, right?” Claude Julien said. “I liked the way we played the last few games; Toronto and obviously Tampa and seeing them turning the corner but that has to continue tonight. I think that’s the challenge that teams have all the time, is not to rely on the fact that you’re playing better lately but fight and keep it going. So I think that’s what everybody’s hoping to be able to do tonight is to keep our team going in the right direction.”

Johnson had said Wednesday that it was tough waiting for his next start given how ugly the last one had been, but the team’s improved play certainly suggests things won’t be as bad Thursday as they were last Saturday.

As for how Johnson has looked this season, he falls under the category of guys who haven’t really been given a chance to hit their stride. He and his teammates know it, as he was less than spectacular in allowing two goals on 16 shots in his Bruins debut against the Sabres. Of course, the Bruins gave him a chance to win in that game — and they did with a 5-2 win — which is far more than could be said for Johnson’s second game.

If there’s any silver lining to that loss going into Thursday, it’s that there’s far less of a chance of the Columbus matchup being a trap game. The Blue Jackets are better than their 6-10-1 record would suggest, and their effort Thursday should be matched by a Bruins team trying to make things up to Johnson.

“We kind of let him down in his second game, against the Islanders,” David Krejci said. “We feel like we owe him one and we’re going to try to do everything we can to get him a win tonight.”

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Chad Johnson to start for Bruins Thursday at 11:42 am ET
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Chad Johnson was the first goalie off the ice in Thursday’s morning skate, meaning he will be between the pipes when the Bruins face the Blue Jackets Thursday night. It will be Johnson’s first start of the season at TD Garden.

Johnson, who was signed in free agency to replace Anton Khudobin, has played very sparingly this season, starting just two of the Bruins’ first 17 games as Tuukka Rask has played the most of any Bruins goaltender in Boston under Claude Julien through such a stretch.

Johnson gets the start with the Bruins having a pair of back-to-backs, as they will play the Senators Friday in Ottawa and then have games Monday and Tuesday against the Hurricanes and Rangers, respectively.

On the season, Johnson is 1-1 with a 2.53 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Chad Johnson ready for more work 11.13.13 at 1:33 pm ET
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Chad Johnson

Chad Johnson

WILMINGTON — If Tuukka Rask has played more than any Bruins goaltender under Claude Julien through the first 17 games of a season, that would mean that backup Chad Johnson has played the least of any Bruins goaltender under Claude Julien through the first 17 games of a season.

With just two games under his belt, Johnson is both happy to help the team however he can and eager to get back between the pipes. After all, Johnson says, “you’re only as good as your last game.” That’s not so great when your last game was the Bruins’ worst of the season, a 3-1 mess against the Islanders on Nov. 2.

“It’s tough in this sort of situation,” Johnson said. “You play a game and you might not get another one for a week or two weeks. You’re only as good as your last game. For me, sometimes it’s two weeks. It’s sort of tough to deal with sometimes, but you just be mentally strong and worry about having good practice and be ready for an opportunity when it does come up again.”

The reason it’s been all Tuukka all the time around these parts is largely because of the Bruins’ schedule early on, with lots of days off between games and only two back-to-backs to this point.

“It’s tough only playing in two games in two months, but that’s the situation, right?” Johnson said. “The more you play, the more comfortable you’ll get. It’s kind of like anything you do. The more you play, the more confident you’ll be, the more comfortable you’ll be. For myself, now that the first month’s over, getting in more games will help a lot more to get in more of a rhythm and feel more comfortable.”

Indeed, the opportunities should increase in the near future. The Bruins’ next four games are parts of back-to-backs, as they play Thursday and Friday and then Monday and Tuesday.

“I think it was pretty obvious with the slow start that it allowed us time to get [Rask] going again and get some rest, but the schedule will get heavier and we’re going to have to lean on Chad more and more,” Julien said. “We know that he’s in situation where he hasn’t played much and we need to allow him to find his groove a little bit if we expect to get some positive performances from him.”

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Chad Johnson finally nearing first start of the season 10.21.13 at 8:42 pm ET
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Chad Johnson

Chad Johnson

WILMINGTON — Former NFL receiver Chad Johnson has gotten as much ice time this season as Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson, but that’s going to change.

With lots of off-days and no back-to-backs, the Bruins have been able to play Tuukka Rask in each of the first seven games of the season, yet with a back-to-back this week in Buffalo Wednesday and home against the Sharks Thursday, Johnson is finally closing in on his first game action of the season. Claude Julien said Monday that Wednesday could be the day for him.

“We’ll probably give him a shot there at some point, and Buffalo might be one of the games we give him,” Julien. “We haven’t made that final decision yet, but I will put him on notice and give him an opportunity. We’re going to have to use him at some point and that might be a good chance to use him then.”

Johnson, 27, has been waiting patiently to make his regular-season Bruins debut. He shut out the Red Wings in his final preseason start, but noted Monday that “preseason doesn’t count.” What does count is what will happen this week, and he’s had plenty of time to prepare. Johnson said there’s a learning process even for goalies as they get into new systems, so coming from Phoenix to Boston has required some adjusting on his part.

“I think it’s just sort of getting comfortable,” he said. “I think for myself and the team,it’s maybe just getting adjusted to the way I play and how they like to play certain situations, like on the penalty kill and situations like that — where they give the goalie the player and where they take away and certain situations. There’s always those little things throughout the game that happen that they build relationships with.”

Rask has allowed more than two goals just once this season and on Saturday he picked up a shutout against the Lightning. That’s a tough act to follow, but Johnson is eager to see what he can do behind what’s been a relatively stable group of defensemen.

“There’s a good team here that knows how to play good defensive hockey,” Johnson said. “For myself I’m excited to get the season going and get kind of into things. It’s been a little bit of a wait here, but that’s just kind of the situation here with the games this first month, so for myself I’m definitely looking forward to getting into some games and getting on a roll and into a good routine here.”

Johnson has played only 10 career NHL games, but if his season debut is anything like his first start of last season, the B’s will be in good hands. Johnson made 21 saves in a shutout against the Predators.

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