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Goaltending Issue? What Goaltending Issue?

Johnson easing his way into starting role

Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Last season was a big disappointment for Calgary Flames fans, and many of us fans didn’t hide our feelings about what we thought the issue was. In fact, back in March, fans voted in a Matchsticks & Gasoline poll that they would like the Flames to trade for Brian Elliott.

Well fans got their wish when the Flames signed Elliott in the off-season and we were all planning the Stanley Cup parade. Then the season began. Elliott was the clear #1 starter to begin the season with Chad Johnson as the back-up. Brian Elliott got lit up in the season opener by the Edmonton Oilers, letting in 6 goals on 27 shots. To be fair, nobody knew then that the Oilers were the powerhouse they are. Two nights later, Elliott gave up 4 goals on 28 shots in another loss to the Oilers in the Flames home opener.

Enter Chad Johnson! One night after Elliott lost his second straight game, Johnson came in and stopped 30 shots out of 31 in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Sure it was a loss, but Johnson was solid and made some really good saves, earning him a second straight start three nights later against the Buffalo Sabres. Johnson let in 3 goals on 21 shots but the Flames won the game 4-3.

At this point Flames fans are starting to wonder who the #1 goaltender really is. Then just a couple days later Elliott would get the start against the Carolina Hurricanes and let in 4 goals on 32 shots in another loss.

Johnson would lose the next game against Buffalo and Elliott would win 3 in a row, however it has been Johnson’s team since then.

In a comparison of their last 6 starts (not including Friday night) , Brian Elliott has a record of 0 wins and 6 losses while Johnson boasts a record of 4 wins and 2 losses. During those games Elliott has a goals against average of 3.70 and a 0.870 save percentage. Johnson’s goals against average over his last 6 starts is a mere 1.67 with a 0.933 save percentage and 2 shutouts.

Johnson’s season stats are much of the same. He has 6 wins, 3 losses and a shootout loss with a 2.08 goals against average and a 0.922 save percentage.

To top it off, Friday night he stopped 35 of 36 shots, including some beauties, to record another win. In my opinion, this team is his and they will ride him all the way into the playoffs.