Alex Lyon has been posting starter numbers but he’s still finding it hard to break out of the Flyers’ goaltending bullpen.
Even after two fine relief efforts in the Columbus (last Thursday) game and another on Tuesday night in Detroit, Lyon hasn’t received back-to-back starts since both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth went on IR at the same time over a month ago.
Lyon did start Saturday night’s game at Carolina and kept his team in the game until it rallied in the third period for a 4-2 win.
But despite holding Detroit to one goal after taking over for Petr Mrazek in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Red Wings, Lyon still isn’t sure if he will get the nod for Thursday night’s home game against the New York Rangers.
After Wednesday’s practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., coach Dave Hakstol sang Lyon’s praises.
“He’s shown a real good level of ability, to be performance-ready,’’ Hakstol said. “Whether it’s been in his starts or coming off the bench. That isn’t always the easiest scenario but he’s shown really good readiness.
“When he’s gone in, he’s given us a chance each time to get ourselves back into a game.’’
In nine games, Lyon is 3-2-1 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.
Meanwhile, Mrazek’s play has been uneven.
Since joining the Flyers, he’s 5-5-1, with a 3.27 GAA and .885 SP.
Mrazek plays well in spurts, then seems to let in a soft goal. Sounds a bit like Steve Mason the past few seasons.
“Each night he’s played pretty well,’’ Hakstol said. “I think it’s a case on some of those nights, just looking for one extra save somewhere. The second goal last night (in Detroit) is a goal he would like to have back.
“But there haven’t been a lot of bad goals that have gone in on Peter. He’s made a lot of good saves. It’s just that at this time of year it’s looking for that one extra save, somewhere, that can make a difference.’’
In Detroit, as has been the case of late, the Flyers fell behind (at one point, 3-1) and had to battle all the way to the finish just to earn a tie in regulation time.
Hakstol confirms this isn’t a good formula for success. Falling behind early all the time takes a lot out of a team.
In fact, the Flyers are 18-19-7 when an opponent scores first and 6-15-6 when trailing after the first period.
“It gets harder and harder this time of year to catch up and to come out even, a one-goal deficit, if you chase the game midway through it becomes harder and harder at this time of year,’’ Hakstol said.
“A period like the first period last night was OK but it isn’t good enough this time of year. That’s an area we have to grow and mature. Got to do it quick because there are not a lot of opportunities left. We remain in a good spot but everything is tight. Every single point is at a premium. We earned a point last night but we clearly have to know we let a point slip away in the first half of that game.’’
Flyers make trade
On Wednesday, the Flyers traded prospect Cooper Marody, a right wing, to the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round pick (acquired from New Jersey) in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Marody, who played 34 games for the University of Michigan this past season (12-29-41), was the 158th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Prospects look good
In the recently published Future Watch edition of the Hockey News, the Flyers were the only team with four players in the top 40: Carter Hart, 35; Philippe Myers, 40; Morgan Frost, 44; German Rubtsov, 45. In fact, no other NHL team had four players in the top 63.