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Penguins have faith in struggling backup Johnson

Feb 20, 2012, 12:26 PM EDT

Brent Johnson AP

It’s been a season to forget for Brent Johnson.

Pittsburgh’s backup goaltender is in the midst of a shockingly bad statistical campaign — 3-7-0, 3.17 GAA, .882 save percentage — one that didn’t get any better after Sunday’s 6-2 loss to Buffalo. Johnson was yanked from the contest early in the second period after allowing three goals on 12 shots, the second time in five starts he’s failed to make it past the midway point (he also got an early hook in a 5-1 loss to Ottawa.)

Despite the struggles, the Penguins are standing behind the veteran keeper.

Well, head coach Dan Bylsma is anyway.

“I’m confident this guy can win hockey games,” Bylsma told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He hasn’t played particularly well and hasn’t had a season like last year. He is going to be playing again. He’s going to have to win us some games, and play better.”

Johnson’s struggles this year been exacerbated by his outstanding numbers from last year, when he went 13-5-0 with a sparkling 2.17 GAA and .922 save percentage. That allowed Bylsma to rest No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on a number of occasions — something he hasn’t been able to do this season.

Sunday’s game against Buffalo was a prime example. Fleury played the day before in a 6-4 win over Philly and faced 31 shots, then got called in on his day off (which the Sabres took full advantage of, scoring three times on 12 shots.) Forcing Fleury into extended action has been a common theme in Pittsburgh this season — the Pens played 11 games in January and Flower was the goalie of record in 10 of them, a big reason why he’s on pace to set a career high in appearances.

  1. jpelle82 - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    just a bad year all around, hope we claim ty conklin

    • pensswag91 - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      I’d love to see Conks back in the Burgh.

  2. mrskunitzdrippinlips - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    coke bottle conks can get the job done. bring him back to the franchise

  3. pens919209 - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Conklin’s numbers with Detroit are just as bad, if not worse, than Johnson’s with Pittsburgh… and Detroit has a pretty good defense. If he’s struggling there, I don’t see him doing any better with the Penguins.

  4. michiganhockey11 - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    At least you know he’s got knockout power if fighting with DePietro…

  5. sportsfreak13 - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Keep Johnson and play better defense in front of him. Go pens

  6. goalieguy37 - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    I think he needs to knock out rick DiPietro out again to get rolling maybe.
    And let’s leave Conklin in the AHL and look for a BETTER goalie to replace Johnson.

    • pens919209 - Feb 20, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      Well in order to be knocked out, DiPietro would have to actually play a game. That in itself would be a feat for him.

      • goalieguy37 - Feb 20, 2012 at 9:34 PM


  7. pittsportsfan - Feb 21, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Glad two people realized that Conklin lost his job for a reason. That Buffalo game didnt seem right from faceoff when Geno started on wing. First time I saw Ryan Miller actually look like Ryan Miller (and not like an average goaltender) against the Pens in a long time.

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