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Season in Review: Brent Johnson

Key Stat: Brent Johnson started 5 games between December 16th through February 19th and three of those times he had to be pulled for poor performance- Dec 16th gave up 5 goals on 19 shots versus Ottawa, Jan 10th he gave up 3 goals on 8 shots to those same Senators, Feb 19th he gave up 3 goals on 12 shots to Buffalo. Interesting Note: Johnson’s career record as a Penguin will stand at 29-18-6, making him 17th all-time in franchise history in wins.

The Good: The season started well enough for Johnny, he started four games in the month of October and had steady results: a 1-1-2 record with a .908 save % and a 2.44 GAA. Since he had given the Penguins two years of fairly solid and reliable playoff from the backup goalie position, there was the confidence that it could continue. And then, it didn’t. You could probably add the friendly rapport he had with Marc-Andre Fleury into the mix, but that’s a bit too intangible to really hang your blocker on.

The Bad: After October, the rest of the season was a horror show for Johnson. As indicated, he went through a stretch where he couldn’t finish games and his coach lost confidence in him. After starting 4 games in the season’s first month, Dan Byslma only called Johnny’s number to start in 2, 2, 1, 3, 1 and 1 time in the following months. 88 goalies saw action in the NHL, and Johnson’s save percentage ranked 79th (other Pens backup Brad Thiessen was 85th). Johnson also had a mysterious and undisclosed minor, nagging mid-season "injury" that was never revealed to give Thiessen some playing time. Be it an actual injury or an excuse to politely push a classy vet out the door, Johnson’s play never recovered and the team rarely showed any confidence in his ability to keep the puck out of the net.

Moment to Remember: April 3, 2012 at the Boston Bruins. Not that it was known at the time, but in what will be Brent Johnson’s final start as a Penguin, he did what he’s done his whole career: battle and compete. The Pens jumped up early on goals from Sidney Crosby and Paul Martin, but the Bruins evened the score when Milan Lucic got a goal just 18 seconds into the 2nd period. Johnson, undeterred from a rough season, hung tough and made a few saves and watched as James Neal and Crosby both scored power play goals 48 seconds apart later in the period to have the Pens work to a 5-3 win in Beantown. The Pens were outshot on the game 29-27, and Johnson was able to bail them out on this night.

Moment to Forget: January 10, 2012 vs the Ottawa Senators. In what should have been a scheduled night off for Marc-Andre Fleury, Brent Johnson allowed a 3rd goal 1:15 into the second period when Jason Spezza embarrassed him and Dan Bylsma was forced to make a change in net. To make matters worse for Johnny, this was his first game action since Ottawa had chased him from the crease back on December 16th, scoring 5 goals in 40 minutes that time. Bylsma had to nip it in the bud, and it seemed from this time on the team didn’t have confidence or faith in Johnny’s ability to stop pucks.

Discussion: With the Penguins trade for Tomas Vokoun, it is clear Brent Johnson’s time with the Penguins is over. We’ve discussed it a lot around here lately, so feel free to flood the comments with talk and pictures of Johnny dropping Rick DiPietro and just otherwise being a solid human being.