|Chad Johnson addresses the wraparound issue||12.20.13 at 1:00 pm ET|
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.”
|Chad Johnson, Jarome Iginla lead Bruins past Oilers||12.13.13 at 12:09 am ET|
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.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– 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.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– 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.
|Milan Lucic scores twice as Bruins beat Blue Jackets||11.30.13 at 9:35 pm ET|
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.
|Chad Johnson likely in net for Bruins vs. Blue Jackets||at 11:32 am ET|
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.
|Milan Lucic the overtime hero as Chad Johnson bails out Bruins||11.14.13 at 9:40 pm ET|
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.
|Bruins feel they owe Chad Johnson a better game||at 12:53 pm ET|
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.”
|Chad Johnson to start for Bruins Thursday||at 11:42 am ET|
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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