Boston Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson has watched the majority of the B’s regular season games from the bench. Before the Bruins went on the Olympic break Johnson manned the helm against the Ottawa Senators, stopping 26 shots in a 7-2 rout at the Garden. This game as well as the match vs. Edmonton left many inquiring about Johnson’s role with the club.
Will the 27 year old find more playing time with Boston? Is it possible that as the NHL playoffs approach, Tuukka Rask will take more of a backseat to Johnson for resting purposes?
While both of these similar questions are legitimate, it’s hard to see Claude Julien not giving his squad the competitive advantage of starting a great goalie like Rask. I’m not saying Johnson’s a bad goalie. He has a solid 11-3 record against all opponents this year. His side-to-side movement is decent. He makes spectacular saves like any other good NHL netminder. The most important aspect of his play, though, is his ability to seize wins. Meeting this standard details a clear difference between a sidepiece goalkeeper and a high-paid starter.
Therefore, if Johnson can allow the Bruins to keep up their victorious ways, it appears that he may be quite valuable to Julien. Think about the wear and tear of an 82-game season on a starting goalie. Another players between the pipes who can pick up victories is huge down the stretch for all teams, and Johnson can only see himself improving with more time on the ice.
“Early on, I don’t think I was as comfortable as I am now,” Johnson said. “I still had some good results, good numbers, but I think the more you play, the more starts you get, the more comfortable you’re going to be. That goes for most goalies. For myself, once I got in more games here, especially in the last month, month and half, I really started getting comfortable.
Experience will definitely invigorate any reserve player, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson ends up positively impacting the Bruins’ 2014 playoff run. Keep a close eye on the B’s backup.