Flyers goaltender Alex Lyon relishing his latest chance in the NHL

Flyers goaltender Alex Lyon relishing his latest chance in the NHL

By: @edbarkowitz 

Don’t believe Alex Lyon when he says his brain fell asleep for that three-minute span Thursday when the Canadiens scored three goals on the Flyers to seize control. Lyon graduated from Yale in political science and did his senior thesis on global nuclear war. This guy’s brain doesn’t fall asleep.

That excuse was just his way of covering for his teammates. Two of the goals came with Montreal having too much room to operate, and the third was off a scrum during a power play.

After a loss, most NHL players can move their focus to the next game. We’ll get ’em next time. Got to win more of the battles. That kind of thing. Lyon, doesn’t have that luxury. In fact, there’s a chance — given the upcoming schedule — that Thursday could have been his last start for the Flyers.

Veteran Brian Elliott is expected to get the call Saturday against Los Angeles and probably again Tuesday against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. After that, the Flyers are off for nine days. Carter Hart (groin) is expected to be back by then, which would send Lyon, 27, back to Lehigh Valley in the AHL.

“Being in the NHL is so awesome,” said Lyon, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016. “I’ve worked my whole life to get here. Just being up for these couple of days has been a thrill. I just want to continue to do my best.”

Thursday’s game marked Lyon’s first NHL start in more than a year and just his ninth since making his NHL debut three seasons ago. He is a free agent at the end of the season.

“The nature of the business is that you want to play well, make more money, and do better,” said Lyon, who carries a modest $750,000 cap hit. “That’s what professional sports is all about. The one thing I’m focusing a lot on this year is staying healthy and just enjoying it.”

Lyon’s most notable professional moment was making 94 saves for the Phantoms in a 2018 playoff game that went five overtimes.

Flyers coach Alain Vigneault noted Thursday that Lyon was having a solid season in Lehigh Valley (2.56 GAA, .916 save percentage), which included a 37-save shutout against Laval in his most recent outing last Saturday.

“He deserves a chance to play,” the coach said. Lyon then stopped 36 of the Canadiens’ shots, but the Flyers got only one past Montreal’s Carey Price in the 4-1 loss.

Example?

“It’s Friday night,” he continued, “and you have a glass of wine. You can either eat the whole pint of ice cream, or you can have a little bit. You can either feel good about yourself the next day. Or you can put yourself in a food coma for the rest of the weekend. It sounds stupid and simple, but I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I feel very at ease. I’m just trying to enjoy it and eat good meals up here in the NHL.”