WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Chad Johnson stopped all 18 shots he faced against the Red Wings in Detroit in his full exhibition game. Niklas Svedberg stopped 26 of 28 shots he faced against the Jets in Winnipeg in his full exhibition game.
And while the easy choice would be for the Bruins to send Svedberg back to Providence, the Swedish product is doing all he can to make them think twice.
Johnson might get the nod as Tuukka Rask’s backup by virtue of the fact he would carry a lighter salary-cap hit ($600,000) than Svedberg ($1 million). Also, Johnson would have to clear waivers to be sent to Providence. Svedberg would not.
Asked about whether that might make the difference for his team, Svedberg shot back, “I try to play my best game on the ice. That’s what should matter.”
The Bruins will make the decision soon, but Svedberg thought he presented a convincing case in the Bruins’ 3-2 overtime win Thursday night.
“I thought he played well, had a lot of traffic in front of him.” coach Claude Julien said. “They created a lot of that, and he was able to stop the pucks with those kind of screens. I thought he was solid.”
Both goals scored by the Jets came on the power play, from Devin Setoguchi in the first period and Mark Scheifele in the third.
Svedberg has allowed three goals in his two preseason appearances, playing 34 minutes against the Capitals in Baltimore and the full game here. He said he’s pleased with his performance. Now it’s out of his hands.
“You try to show your best game,” Svedberg said. “I had three goals. I could have had zero, but I think it was good to get two wins. Today was a good game to get a full game and to get the win.”
On the upswing
Dougie Hamilton is, certainly, the future of the Bruins’ defense. But as training camp and preseason have gone along, the Bruins are doing their best to figure out if Hamilton is also the present.
While Hamilton is likely to be in the top six when the season begins next week, he hasn’t impressed quite as much as the other two players against whom he’s fighting for those two open spots on defense: Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski. Still, Bartkowski seems the odds-on favorite to be the seventh defenseman when the Bruins take to the ice against the Lightning next Thursday.
Julien said he’s seen “a guy that’s improved every game” when he looks at Hamilton. He said Hamilton looked as if he were trying to find his way early in his first game, but has gotten better since then.
“When you’re a young player, you always have to fight for a spot,” Julien said. “There are some veterans that are extremely established around the league. He’s not one of those guys. So I think he’s got to make sure he understands that not only is he fighting for a spot, but he wants to be in the lineup.
“We’re going to carry seven D’s. So does he want to be in the top seven, or does he want to be in the top six? That’s how he’s got to approach it.”
Caron has a chance
At the start of camp, it appeared Jordan Caron would get a long look as a potential member of the third line, with the forward one of the favorites to get a shot. But as it has gone on, Caron has looked less and less like a favorite, and more and more like someone just trying to make the cut.
“He’s one of those guys that’s in the running,” said Julien. “The one thing with Jordan, he’s very reliable on both ends of the ice. He’s a big body. He’s strong on the puck.
“Right now, the thing that you’re looking for is, what can he bring besides that part of the game? He’s pretty good at that part of it, and a little bit of production and a little bit of offensive, I guess, chances.
“We’ve encouraged him to take pucks to the net. We’re going to have a good look at him.”
Caron was signed to a one-year, one-way $640,000 contact in the offseason, meaning that he’d have to clear waivers to be sent to Providence. That could force the Bruins’ hand and put him in line to be the extra forward, with Carl Soderberg and Reilly Smith seemingly having sewn up spots on the third line.
Eriksson ends it
Loui Eriksson scored the winner against the Jets, taking a feed from Ryan Spooner. It was the first preseason goal for Eriksson with his new team.
The goal capped a night that was a bit of a struggle for the second line, despite producing the Bruins’ first goal, by Patrice Bergeron off a nice setup from Brad Marchand.
“I think that line tonight didn’t play that great,” Julien said. “Lot of east-west, criss-crossing, and nothing much came out of it. They’re going to have to learn as a line to be a little more straightforward in order to make things happen. That’s how we open up lanes.”
Quick on the draw
As much as Spooner has impressed the Bruins, one area that hasn’t been so kind is the faceoff circle. Before Thursday night, Spooner had struggled to win faceoffs in the preseason, and it’s something the team has noticed. “You’ve got to get better in that area,” Julien said. “Those are things you can improve on day in, day out, and they get better at that. But that’s an area where he’s working on right now and knows that he’s got to get better.” Spooner responded by winning 7 of 11 draws against the Jets.