The Battle of Evermore - Fleury or Johnson? Johnson or Fleury?

A reader on another prominent Pens fan blog commented that if Bylsma plans to continue playing Fleury, perhaps he should only put him out against the inept teams. I believe this sentiment has been expressed here as well. This got me thinking about the opponents our goalies have faced so far. Check out the analysis after the jump.

What do the numbers tell us? Admittedly, I started off with the impression that Fleury has faced stiffer competition than Johson, but maybe I just had the two most recent games stuck in my head. After all, Fleury lost to the defending Eastern Conference Champion Flyers; Johnson shut out the floundering Carolina Hurricanes, who are struggling to stay out of the cellar in the mighty Southeast.

So I pulled the stats for the Pens' opponents through the first 12 games. Nothing fancy, just the standard wins and losses, goals for and goals against. I then backed out the totals these teams have amassed against the Pens since it didn't make sense to include them. The results are below:

Fleury's opponents are a combined 29-17-7 (.613).They have scored 2.81 goals/game and allowed 2.40 goals/game.

Johnson's opponents are a combined 25-25-6 (.500). They have scored 2.66 goals/game and allowed 2.95 goals/game.

Fleury has played 4 games against division leaders and 2 against teams that are 3rd in their division.

Johnson has played 4 games against teams that are 4th or 5th in their division.

Obviously Brent's performance has been better than Fleury, but I don't see a whole lot of acknowledgment out there that strength of opponents has something to do with it.

Maybe this just supports the idea to send BJ out against some of the tougher teams and let Flower take on some of the light duty for a change.

What do you think?

BTW, I had this song in my head while writing this post. Enjoy.

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