Goaltender Brent Johnson (4-0) made 32 saves, leading Pittsburgh to a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators Monday and through seven games of the season, he’s been one of the best goaltenders in the entire National Hockey League.
“Brent Johnson didn’t have a huge opportunity in camp but Brent Johnson did play some good hockey for us last year and minus a couple times when he was sick and didn’t get in the lineup, he had some good numbers for us last year, “Bylsma said in his post-game comments.
“It’s not a surprise for us to see him do this, “Bylsma said. “He had stretches in the National Hockey League in the past where he’s done this for good periods of hockey for his team. Training camp, maybe he didn’t have the opportunity for this but he’s had it the last four games.”
Coming off another impressive performance, Johnson is fully expected to continue to compete for playing time in the short-term with Marc Andre Fleury who was benched for a third straight game.
“Right now you have a guy who I don’t know after tonight…. but one of the best numbers in the league, Bylsma said.
“Right now in couple opportunities winning hockey games for you, making big saves and he got that opportunity to do it tonight and got us another win, Bylsma said.
Despite Johnson competing for playing time in the short-term, Marc Andre Fleury remains the Penguins No. 1 goaltender long-term and the Penguins hope he comes out of his funk that he’s been in since last year.
Bylsma for the first time in over a week gave Fleury a boost of confidence tonight as the Penguins don’t return to game action until Thursday night at Nashville.
It’s a game many expect Fleury to get back into the net, which will be an 8 day layoff. Highly uncommon for a No. 1 goaltender, just as it’s uncommon for a labeled “franchise goaltender” to be benched for 3 straight games, especially during back-to-back situations and a three games in four day stretch.
“Marc Andre Fleury as you mention is our franchise goaltender and is our No. 1 guy and he’s a guy we count on to be a great goaltender for us and make big saves like he has in the past, ” Bylsma said.
“He’ll get to do it again and get back in and his teammates are confident in what he brings to the table, “Bylsma said.