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Bruins' Johnson to get rare start in goal

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- Those hoping the goaltending matchup Thursday at TD Garden would pit last season's Vezina Trophy winner against one of the prime candidates for that award this season will be half-pleased when the Boston Bruins host the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Blue Jackets star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who was voted the best goaltender in the NHL last season, will start for his team. But Tuukka Rask, who woke up Thursday leading the League in save percentage (.948), will get a rare night off and let Chad Johnson make a start.

Johnson hasn't played since Nov. 2, a 3-1 road loss to the New York Islanders. That night the Bruins were outshot 34-27 and it was one of the most-criticized performances of the season by coach Claude Julien. So this time around the Bruins will try to support Johnson better.

"We kind of let him down … versus the Islanders," Bruins center David Krejci said. "So we feel like we owe him one and we're going to try to do everything we can to get him a win."

Johnson also will be making his home debut.

"Yeah, that's exciting," he said. "You know there's nothing better than playing in front of your home crowd and the fans and being able to be a part of that. I'm excited. It's one of those games that I marked down on my calendar as one that I might get the home game."

The Blue Jackets, who are 1-5-1 in their past seven games, are expected to have forward Nick Foligno back in the lineup. He's been out since Nov. 7 due to personal reasons.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:


Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Loui Eriksson

Carl Soderberg - Chris Kelly - Reilly Smith

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton

Dennis Seidenberg - Torey Krug

Matt Bartkowski - Johnny Boychuk

Chad Johnson

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Jordan Caron

Injured: Adam McQuaid (lower body)


Brandon Dubinsky - Ryan Johansen - Cam Atkinson

RJ Umberger - Artem Anisimov - Marian Gaborik

Derek MacKenzie - Mark Letestu - Blake Comeau

Nick Foligno - Michael Chaput - Jared Boll

James Wisniewski - Ryan Murray

Jack Johnson - Fedor Tyutin

Nikita Nikitin - Dalton Prout

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Sean Collins, David Savard

Injured: Boone Jenner (lower body), Matt Calvert (lower body), Nathan Horton (shoulder)

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