Johnson shakes off rust, wins first start of season

Johnson shakes off rust, wins first start of season
October 24, 2013, 12:30 pm
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BUFFALO – As far as first steps go with a new hockey team, it was a pretty solid one for Bruins backup netminder Chad Johnson in earning his first victory with the Boston hockey club. Johnson wasn’t overworked in making 14 saves in a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center, but he made the key stop in the game when it was needed by the Black and Gold.

That’s the No. 1 job description for a goaltender, and that’s exactly what Johnson did after not appearing in game action for a month dating back to a Sept. 21 preseason shutout of the Detroit Red Wings.

“It was weird because in the first period I felt great, and the second period there were some stretches without any shots with flurries mixed in there too,” said Johnson. “It was a little bit of a weird game, but it was a good start. It was something I can build off in the next time out.”

With the Bruins holding a 2-1 lead in the middle of the second period and Buffalo building up some momentum buzz, Dennis Seidenberg tossed a grenade pass toward the neutral zone that landed on the stick of Marcus Foligno. The B’s turnover quickly devolved into a scoring chance for Foligno, but Johnson was able to knock aside a shot that would have tied things up for the lowly Sabres.

Instead the puck went to Carl Soderberg, who found a speeding Brad Marchand down the left side that transitioned the play into a 2-on-1 with Dougie Hamilton. The B’s second-year defenseman buried a wrist shot for the eventual game-winning goal, and Johnson was able to rebound from a subsequent soft goal allowed to Nikita Zadorov on a backhander from the left circle.

It appeared Johnson was off his angles as the promising, young Buffalo D-Man tucked the puck inside the goalie beyond the far post.

“It was good I had some situations there, but there weren’t a whole lot of shots,” said Johnson. “It was nice to get the two points and move on to the next one.

“In the second period, my focus was there. But there was a little rust there as far as reading plays, and there were probably a couple that I would play differently the next time around. Overall, I felt okay. It’s something I can build off of in practice.”

Now Johnson will go back to his duty at the end of the bench waiting for his next call from the Bruins, and feel confident that he passed his first test as Tuukka Rask’s understudy with the Black and Gold.