Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 12/13/13

ATLANTA - JANUARY 07: Goaltender Chad Johnson #29 of the New York Rangers against the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on January 7, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
When the Bruins signed Chad Johnson prior to the season, there were plenty of people who wrote off the acquisition of the career backup. There was far from a consensus that he’d make the big team. Through more than a third of the season, however, Johnson is looking like quite the pick-up. It’s not an easy job to be a backup goaltender in the NHL, but Johnson has flourished in the role with the Bruins so far. The 27-year-old had arguably his finest showing of the season Thursday night in Edmonton where he stopped a career-high 39 saves in a 4-2 Boston win over the Oilers. With the win, Johnson is now 5-1-0 on the season with five wins in as many starts. After losing his second start of the season on Nov. 2 against the Islanders, Johnson has won five straight starts. His save percentage in that stretch is over .900, as Johnson’s season save percentage now sits at .928. For a little bit of context, Tuukka Rask‘s save percentage sits at .935, which means the Bruins have one of the league’s best goaltending tandems right now. Johnson (6-1-0, 1.98, .928) was especially stellar Thursday with the aforementioned career-high 39 saves. Staked to a 3-0 lead after the first period, Johnson would be tested mightily in the second and third periods. Johnson gave up a pair of tough goals to David Perron in the second period, which included an ugly wraparound goal that Johnson should have had. The two goals certainly gave the Oilers some momentum as they came out firing in the third period. The final period, however, was where Johnson was at his best. The backup was under siege all period, as Edmonton peppered him with 13 shots. Johnson stopped all 13. With the Bruins struggling at the other end — managing just three shots on goal in the final period — Johnson stood on his head. His best save of the night might have come early in the third when he robbed Nail Yakupov with a beautiful glove save at 4:43 of the period. That appeared to be a confidence-booster for Johnson who was at his best when it mattered most. “I thought we came out pretty strong, they just didn’t have any quit,” Johnson said. “They’re a team that likes to play on the rush. They kind of just threw pucks on the net and had a lot of guys driving. It was a little bit of a scrambley game, but we got the two points so it was nice. “ Johnson was far from alone in stepping up Thursday night. It was another pretty remarkable team effort. The Bruins, who are battered and bruised, aren’t being helped along by the fact that the flu is making its way through the dressing room. Johnson, who was supposed to start Tuesday in Calgary before he was felled by the flu, went Thursday because Rask had come down with that bug. Johnson, quite literally the next man up, entered the crease and helped the Bruins push their winning streak to four games. “We had a shortened bench tonight and guys aren’t 100 percent,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “So we didn’t have the energy to finish that 60 minutes, but I think we showed the character to finish that 60. “I’m happy with the win because of the circumstances we’re in. “ Once again, the Bruins found a way to win, and Johnson was arguably the biggest reason for that.Filed under: Boston Bruins, Mike Cole, Top Stories
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