DENVER – Chad Johnson knew he’d be facing a furious attack given the speed and skill combination within Colorado’s forward group, and their aggressive style of play that relies on attacking for scoring chances. So Johnson was prepared for the 14-shot onslaught he faced in the first period while holding back the Avalanche, and that made everything easier for himself and his Bruins team in a 2-0 victory over the Avs at the Pepsi Center.
The 31-save shutout effort was Johnson’s fifth straight win, and his second shutout effort of the season in 23 appearances for the Black and Gold. It was also the first time the high-powered Colorado team has been shut out this season.
Johnson collected back-to-back wins in New Jersey and Colorado on this road trip, and is sporting a 1.20 goals against average and a .954 save percentage during his March winning streak.
Those aren’t too shabby for a goaltender continues to impress as Tuukka Rask’s understudy this season.
“He stopped the pucks,” said Johnson. “He had to get better after the first because there were some loose pucks around the net that he wasn’t able to freeze. He was better in the second period, but I think our whole team was better then.
“When you consider they had 14 shots and some pretty good scoring chances in the first period, I think Chad did a really good job for us tonight.”
Johnson also got some help from the Avs in that chaotic first period when Colorado was firing all manner of shots at the Boston net. Both Gabriel Landeskog and Brad Malone misfired on chances at open nets, and then Johnson clamped things down after being staked to a 1-0 lead.
His biggest stops in the middle period: Johnson stoned Maxime Talbot on a breakaway when he got behind Torey Krug in the neutral zone, and a huge stop on a crashing Jan Hejda after Matt Duchene had found him all alone in front with a slick pass. They were both part of the 10 saves Johnson made in the middle 20 minutes while protecting Boston’s advantage.
“I feel good. It’s nice to be able to get in and help the team,” said Johnson. “My mindset is to get in there and help the team win as many games as I can. It’s about helping to put the team in a position to win games, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do that.”
That would be an understatement given the 16-3-1 record Johnson has built up during his first extended backup goaltending work at the NHL level. The 27-year-old has given the Bruins everything they could have possibly asked for, and then some, in his remarkable first season stopping pucks for the Black and Gold.