Penguins' Johnson stands behind Fleury
PHILADLEPHIA -- The puck must look like a beach ball to Penguins goalie Brent Johnson.
That was goaltending coach Gilles Meloche's guess after Johnson stopped 29 shots Saturday night in the Penguins' 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.
Whatever the puck resembles, Johnson has stopped it often enough -- 81 times in three starts, all wins -- to have gained the confidence of coach Dan Bylsma. Johnson has started the past two games, and Bylsma's public comments about No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury have intentionally been more pointed than at any time during his 20 months as coach.
Johnson was pretty pointed after his latest win, too.
"This is Flower's team," he said of Fleury. "Everybody in this room knows that being the guy here will be his responsibility. I'm happy I'm giving us a chance to win, but Flower is our guy."
Fleury, who could not be reached for comment, is 0-3-0 with a .853 save percentage.
He made only 10 saves in his last start, Wednesday at home against Toronto. He has faced fire from fans since allowing a bad-looking third goal late in a 3-2 home loss to Montreal on Oct. 9.
The Penguins did not practice Sunday, but the day before Bylsma seemingly challenged Fleury to win back the regular starts befitting a franchise goaltender.
"He needs to be at his best, sharp and focused," Bylsma said. "He worked really hard in the preseason and really hard in the summer, and he had a great camp -- playing aggressive, confident and big in net. That's where he's got to be when he gets in there for us again. We count on him to be that guy for us."
Fleury remains "the guy," though -- at least in the eyes of the man who signed him to a seven-year contract worth $35 million in July 2008.
"The main thing is, from our coaching staff to his teammates, we all believe in Marc-Andre Fleury," general manager Ray Shero said. "It's not like he's been terrible. He'll get back in there. He'll play well when he does.
"He is the least of my worries."Additional Information:
7 p.m. today, Consol Energy Center
(FSN, WXDX-FM 105.9, Penguins Radio Network)
Season series: First of four games. The Penguins went 2-2 against Ottawa last season and won a first-round playoff series in six games.
Who to watch: Right wing Daniel Alfredsson has 18 goals and 53 points in 55 regular-season games against the Penguins.
Trends n'at: Four of Ottawa's first five games were decided by a goal, and the Senators won just one of those contests. ... Right wing Alex Kovalev has one goal and one assist in his past 22 regular-season games. ... The Senators are 1 for 20 on the power play.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins GM Rutherford: Malkin’s play belies fact he missed training camp
- Penguins notebook: After slow start, penalty kill on upswing
- Penguins’ Crosby OK with Neal comments about trade
- Penguins’ defenseman Maatta confident of full recovery
- Penguins assistant coach Tocchet wants Letang to shoot more on power play
- Predators GM Poile: Penguins’ firing of Shero not fair
- Fleury, Penguins too much for Kings
- Starkey: Hockey hypocrites, unite
- Penguins veteran defenseman Scuderi’s game looking up
- Penguins notebook: Team celebrates ‘Hockey Fights Cancer’ event
- Penguins assistant coach Tocchet marvels at Maatta’s demeanor