I will openly admit that I was not thrilled when they decided to let the contract for Anton Khudobin expire, and it stung that Dobby got himself a solid gig being the backup net minder for the Carolina Hurricanes. Khudobin was a solid presence for Tuukka Rask last season, and I wasn’t sure about Johnson. Johnson had very little NHL experience, and it seemed he was picked up as a “Ok, you’ll do.” grab rather than a “This guy will help us in the clutch and win games for Boston.”
My opinion on this has changed. Johnson is 7-3 for the Black and Gold, with a decent 2.27 goals against average, and a respectable .918 save percentage. He’s had one or two wild games, but he also suffered from a lack of support from his brother Bruins. He’s been called up on three seperate occasions when the opposing team chased Tuukka out of the net. If anyone would like to question his compete level, I would like to remind them that Johnson played the second half of the game with the Dallas Stars with only one contact lens in. His left eye took a direct hit from the blade of Zdeno Chara‘s stick, and it sent him to the ice.
Taking a shot to the eye would usually get the other goaltender in the crease. It didn’t stop Johnson though. He got repaired on the ice, and if you watched the game, you saw a very concerned trainer looking at Johnson’s injury. He was able to finish out the game earning thirty two saves on thirty four shots on goal. We’ve always given credit for Carl Soderberg for playing with impaired vision, and we have to extend that same level of respect to Johnson.
“Yeah, I didn’t know how serious it was, but he just came back,” said B’s head coach Claude Julien said of Johnson’s injury. “He’s got that little cut there on the side of his eye. He was good tonight. I thought he played a real solid game and was square to the puck all night long.[It was a] good outing for him.”
There is a part of me that still misses Khudobin. Some of will still think that Svedberg should have gotten called up, or that they should have never let Khudobin go. We’ve got a very high standard for our goaltenders in Boston, and so far Johnson has proved that he can be a good support for Tuukka Rask this year.