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Johnson expected to start - 10-18-10

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Dan Bylsma officially said it would be a game-time decision, but it's pretty clear he intends to start Brent Johnson (above) in net for the third consecutive game tonight.

In addition to being the first goaltender off the ice for the Penguins' practice this morning, Johnson followed through on a routine of not speaking to the media the morning he is expected to play.

And the team has three wins with him in the lineup. It has three losses without him.

You do the math.

As for the rest of the team, the lines and defensive pairings remained status quo.

For the Senators, according to Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen, their lines and defensive combinations at practice today looked like this:

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Daniel Alfredsson
Ryan Shannon - Peter Regin - Alex Kovalev
Jesse Winchester - Mike Fisher - Nick Foligno
Jarkko Ruutu - Chris Kelly - Chris Neil

Matt Carkner - Chris Phillips
Sergei Gonchar - Chris Campoli
Brian Lee - Erik Karlsson

EN Says: It's still October. There are still 76 games left in the season. Barring injury, this team will sink or swim with Marc-Andre Fleury in the long-term. Right now, Brent Johnson gives them the best chance to win.

This treatment of Fleury isn't unprecedented. In November of 2008, former coach Michel Therrien gave back-up Dany Sabourin several starts when he felt Fleury was floundering. Eventually, Fleury reclaimed the starting job if we recall correctly, things turned out fine when that season was over.

(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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