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The Daily: Red Wings Have Shot at California Sweep; Barkov Hurt

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Alex Lyon, Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings have a shot to earn six of six possible points on this three-game California road trip and goalie Alex Lyon deserves some credit for that opportunity.

Given how poorly the Red Wings played in December, this seemed implausible when it started. Detroit needs to beat Anaheim Sunday for its third win in a row.

Lyon is giving Detroit a chance to succeed, and played a significant 40-save role in the 4-3 win over a quality Los Angeles Kings’ team. He hasn’t been perfect. Lyon gave up a third period goal that seemed soft. But he was an A level performer for the rest of the game, particularly in the first period when the Kings were trying to pour it on after two early goals. Lyon also was sharp in the overtime.

ā€œCompete, battle. Really good first and then just kept us throughout,” Coach Derek Lalonde said after the game. “Never gave them any momentum. Some big-time saves, even in the overtime to get us to the shootout. So, high compete. The guys like playing for him because of that compete he has.ā€

Lalonde’s last sentence is key. Lyon has won over the players. A Robby Fabbri quote in Tim Robinson’s story confirms that. Lyon’s chief strength is that he plays confidently. That’s important because, as Lalonde pointed out, the Red Wings seemed fragile late in their 3-9-1 slump.

With this win, Lyon has now given up three or fewer goals in nine (81.8%) of his 11 appearances. By contrast, Ville Husso gave up three or fewer goals in nine (52.9%) of 17 appearances before he was injured.

Lyon’s consistency is crucial for the Red Wings’ hopes of finishing off a California sweep with a win in Anaheim Sunday.

Red Wings In Case You Missed It

  • Lucas Raymond, Patrick Kane deliver shootout road win over the Los Angeles Kings.
  • Detroit prospects Trey Augustine, Axel Sandin Pellikka and Anton Johansson are in the gold medal game at the World Junior Championships. Augustine will be in net for USA and Sandin Pellikka and Johansson are Swedish defensemen. Johansson isn’t playing much.
  • Bob Duff lists five Red Wings who need to get going as the season approaches the halfway mark.

Red Wings Next Game

The Anaheim Ducks (13-23-1) will be the Red Wings’ final opponent of this road trip. The two teams meet Sunday (8 p.m., ET). The Ducks are not playing good hockey. They have lost five of their last six, and have only won four out of 22 games, dating to Nov. 15. Detroit (19-16-4) is fifth in NHL scoring (3.56 goals per game) and Anaheim is 29th (2.51).Ā  The Ducks have been slightly better than the Red Wings in goals-against average. The Ducks are 23rd (3.35 goals per game) and the Red Wings are 25th (3.44).

Hockey Now Network

Chicago: Connor Bedard’s national popularity should place the Chicago Blackhawks back in line for a Winter Classic.

Florida: Sasha Barkov was injured in the Florida Panthers’ win against the Golden Knights. The Panthers should know more today about the extent of his injury.

Montreal: Christian Dvorak’s season is over because of a torn pectoral muscle. Montreal Canadiens.

Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby’s impressive season continued Thursday night as he willed the Pittsburgh Penguins to an improbable 6-5 win against the Boston Bruins. Crosby netted the game-winner in the third period.

Vegas: Chris Gawlik that the Vegas Golden Knights free fall continued with a lackluster performance against the Florida Panthers.