There’s something refreshingly genuine about the way Detroit Red Wings goalie Alex Lyon answers questions about himself or his team.
“It’s huge, huge,” Lyon said after Detroit beat last-place San Jose 5-3 Tuesday. “I think we’re fighting for our lives. Every point is massive right now. Huge victory for us on the road. They played really hard tonight and I’m just super happy.”
Alex Lyon has gone from being the team’s No. 3 goalie to designated starter. This could be good news for Detroit. Lyon keeps opponents at three goals or fewer 80% (eight of 10) of the time for a team that has given up three or fewer 47.3% (18 of 38) of the time.
It’s time to give Lyon a chance.
“Alex was great,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “…There were some moments they were pushing, like most home teams do, and he came up big for us. So, he gave us an opportunity to hang in there throughout and pull it out in the end.”
Proved Himself in Florida
Minnesota native Lyon, 31, has made three consecutive starts and may be tracking the most starts in NHL career. He made a career-high 15 starts last season when he played strong down the stretch to help the Florida Panthers earn the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The only other time he reached double figures in appearances was in 2017-18 when he played 11 games for the Philadelphia Flyers.
With the way the games are spread on this California road trip — Thursday in Los Angeles and Sunday in Anaheim — Lyon could play the next two if Lalonde is inclined. He could give James Reimer one of the starts.
“I feel good,” Lyon said. “I feel like I’m still building. It wasn’t perfect tonight by any means but you’re never gonna apologize for a win. That’s how I operate, so move on and just try to be crisper. Just happy. You can never be angry after a victory.”
The Sharks have lost nine in a row, but Lyon wasn’t shocked that they held the lead over the Red Wings in the third period. He saw it as his team, particularly David Perron with two goals, rising up when it was most needed.
“I just felt like (the Sharks) were playing good hockey,” Lyon said. “They’ve got good players over there. Especially in this league you can’t get fooled into looking at the records, because they have a lot of extremely dangerous, talented players.
Finally Getting a Shot
Based on how Lyon played last season and this season for Detroit, Lyon could be a quality goalie who has never received a true shot at playing very often. He plays with confidence and seems to have the kind of positive temperament that pleases coaches. He has been clear that he is ready to do whatever the Red Wings need him to do. They must have liked what they saw when he played for the Panthers because GM Steve Yzerman gave him a two-year deal. He is clearly appreciative of receiving the chance to play.
“It’s awesome,” Lyon said. “Every goalie wants to play every night. I enjoy that. I like a big workload. It’s good. I feel like I’m connecting more and more with the team in every game. We’re kinda getting on the same page. We got two more huge games on the road. They’re not gonna be easy, so we gotta be ready.”