TORONTO – Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson can’t seem to catch a break.
Starting for just the second time in 11 games Wednesday, Johnson gave up just one goal on 24 shots—but it wasn’t enough as the Penguins fell 1-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“It sucks,” said Penguins forward Craig Adams. “He was great right from the beginning of the game right through the whole game. For us not to be able to get one for him, it’s disappointing.”
In his third season with the Penguins, Johnson’s had a tough time backing up Marc-Andre Fleury. Thursday’s game against the Leafs was just his tenth appearance of the season, and he’s 2-6-2 in those games. But considering his last performance was a 5-1 loss against Ottawa early in January, he feels he could be close to turning the corner.
“Obviously I’m disappointed with the loss,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction for myself. I tried to simplify things out there and things were working pretty good tonight. I felt confident. I felt good and our guys played well.”
Johnson had been perfect through the first two periods, stopping eight shots in the first and nine in the second. It all came undone with just over six minutes remaining as Toronto’s Clarke MacArthur scored to give Johnson his eighth loss of the season.
“(Johnson) played real strong,” said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. “It’s maybe the most disappointing part of the game was a battle both ways and no special teams got on the board. (He) made some outstanding saves in the first and 0-0 with eight minutes to go and unfortunately, he gets the loss but he played very good for us tonight.”
Johnson’s only two wins of the season have both come on the road: Oct. 18 in Minnesota and Dec. 3 at Carolina.