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Islanders' Johnson back in town to face Bruins

by Matt Kalman

ISLANDERS (4-2-0) at BRUINS (4-4-0)


BOSTON -- New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk isn't be the only former Boston Bruins player returning to face his old team at TD Garden on Thursday.

Goaltender Chad Johnson established himself as an NHL regular last season as Tuukka Rask's backup. Johnson, scheduled to start for the Islanders, was 17-4-3 with a 2.10 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 27 games for the Bruins before he signed with the Islanders as an unrestricted free agent during the summer.

When last season ended, Johnson knew the Bruins would be turning to prospect Niklas Svedberg to be Rask's backup.

"It was one of those where if you move on probably in this business it's for bad reasons. But I think just for my situation there wasn't enough, I guess, room to do that for the Bruins," Johnson said after the morning skate. "So it's a different feeling coming back when there's really no animosity between both sides."

Johnson is 1-0-0 with a 2.25 GAA and .897 save percentage this season.

In a twist, the Bruins are scheduled to start Svedberg. Many thought Svedberg outplayed Johnson at Bruins training camp last season, but the Bruins went with Johnson, partly because he was on a one-way contract and Svedberg was on a two-way. Svedberg appeared in one game for the Bruins last season but spent the rest of the season with Providence of the American Hockey League. Svedberg is 1-1-0 with a 0.91 GAA and .969 save percentage this season.

"It's been good fun, you know," Svedberg said. "Learning so far every day and just taking it day by day and enjoying it and trying to get better every day."

Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, according to coach Jack Capuano. Hamonic, who has one goal and an even plus/minus rating in six games this season, will not face the Bruins. Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky is set to make his season debut in Hamonic's place.

Forward Anders Lee also will make his season debut.

Here are the projected lineups:


Cory Conacher - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Nikolay Kulemin - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey

Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Ryan Strome

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk

Thomas Hickey - Lubomir Visnovsky

Calvin de Haan - Brian Strait

Chad Johnson

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Matt Donovan, Eric Boulton

Injured: Travis Hamonic (upper body), Mikhail Grabovski (concussion), Michael Grabner (lower body), Matt Carkner (back)


Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Seth Griffith

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Simon Gagne

Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton

Dennis Seidenberg - Torey Krug

Matt Bartkowski - Adam McQuaid

Niklas Svedberg

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Matt Fraser

Injured: Kevan Miller (shoulder)

Status report: Visnovsky makes his season debut for the Islanders after being out with a back injury. Last season he had three goals, 11 points and a minus-1 rating in 24 games. ... Lee was recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. He had three goals and two assists in five games for the Sound Tigers.

Who's hot: Tavares has 10 points in six games and at least one point in five of those games. ... Strome has two points in his past two games and four in his past four games. … Svedberg has a shutout streak of 72:21. ... Krug has one goal in each of the past two games. ... Kelly has five assists during a four-game point streak.

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