MONTREAL – A lot of things went right for the Bruins in their preseason opening win against the Montreal Canadiens, but the goaltending play of Chad Johnson was certainly not one of them.
The 26-year-old netminder entered camp hungry to establish himself as the chief backup to Tuukka Rask after bouncing around the Coyotes and Rangers organizations, but he got off on the wrong foot in Boston’s 6-3 win at the Bell Centre. Johnson allowed all three of Montreal’s goals while playing the first half of the exhibition hockey game, and two of the three goals allowed were a bit suspect for somebody trying to make a good first impression.
The first goal was also the worst for Johnson. Louis Leblanc and the Habs didn’t register their first shot on net until 12 minutes into the game, but that left point blast handcuffed Johnson at the net. The flubbed glove save attempt led to a rebound in front of the net, and Francis Bouillon fed the loose puck to the front of the net where it bounced off Travis Moen and past Johnson.
That sequence gave Montreal the tying goal on just their second shot of the game, and pushed Johnson off to a tough start. Not exactly the kind of reassuring performance from a player in Johnson that’s fighting to prove he can play 20-25 games in the NHL this season while giving Tuukka Rask a rest.
“I wouldn’t over-analyze certain things because some of those pucks were screens, and things like that. But there’s no doubt he’d like to have a goal back. He was okay,” said Claude Julien. “But you just have to look at the other end [of the ice], and their No. 1 goaltender. There were some pucks squeaking by there in the first half of the game.
“The second goalies both seemed to have it a little bit easier.”
The Habs continued to pour it on Johnson in the second period with a pair of power play goals in the second period. The B’s netminder lost P.K. Subban’s high point blast through traffic and wasn’t able to get any piece of the screaming slap shot. He didn’t have a chance to stop a Max Pacioretty five hole score off some tic-tac-toe passing.
In all, Johnson allowed three goals on eight shots to Montreal, and has plenty to work on for the rest of B’s training camp while competing with Niklas Svedberg for the backup role. As Julien referenced, Malcolm Subban entered the game for the final 30 minutes and stabilized things between the pipes while not allowing a goal on 12 shots faced.
The good news: Johnson will have more opportunities to show Monday night was an outlier, and that he’s up to the task while providing some needed relief to a franchise goaltender like Rask.