As suggested before, this is a critical three-game West Coast road trip that historically hasn't been friendly to the Detroit Red Wings, but they will continue to ride the hot hand of veteran backstop Alex Lyon.
First, the Detroit Red Wings took care of business in San Jose, beating the Sharks 5-3, coming from behind to do so with a strong third period. They'd then travel to Los Angeles to square off against a legitimate Stanley Cup contender in the Kings. Detroit surprisingly again took care of business by edging out the Kings 4-3 in a shootout. Detroit has been lacking depth scoring once again over the past few weeks but got some timely scoring from Jeff Petry and Robby Fabbri, who notched a pair of goals to help the Red Wings get to overtime and the eventual shootout victory. Patrick Kane and Lucas Raymond converted in the shootout while Lyon slammed the door. Overall, Lyon made 40 saves Thursday night and proved yet again that he's indeed Detroit's top option in goal for the foreseeable future.
Sunday evening will be Lyon's fifth straight start for the Red Wings. He's posted a 3-1-0 record over his past three. He's allowed 12 goals and has made 33, 19, 24, and 40 saves, respectfully posting a .899 save percentage over that stretch. Overall, Lyon has made 11 starts this year, posting a stout .919 save percentage to go along with a 2.56 goals-against average. Six of his 11 starts have been quality starts, and he's recorded one shutout.
Alex Lyon will look to stay hot on Sunday, making his fifth straight start for the Detroit Red Wings.
Following Detroit's shootout victory in L.A. Lyon talked about how big it was for this team and the locker room.
"“These are the moments in the season that you need in order to gain some momentum and kind of right the ship,” goaltender Alex Lyon said. “And getting off the mat, I guess as you could say it, is one of the hardest things to do in this league — in any league, really. Just incredibly happy and proud for the guys, because it’s a really difficult thing.”"
Lalonde spoke about how the players have responded with Lyon in goal. When a goaltender is on their game, it can really pick up a club. It sends a ripple effect down the bench when you can count on the goaltender making a big save rather than playing tight and conservatively, feeling like every mistake will result in said netminder digging the puck out from the back of the net.
"“I just think he has such a compete about him,” Lalonde said. “I think the guys love playing for him, and I think they want to give back a little bit too, because he’s always battling. So yeah, he’s sparked us, obviously, that’s three of four now.”"
As it sits, the Detroit Red Wings currently control the fifth spot in the Atlantic Division with 42 points, trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning by a mere one point. The Red Wings also have two games in hand on Tampa. The Red Wings trail the Maple Leafs by five points, but the Leafs have two games in hand on Detroit. Basically, there is no room for error in the Eastern Conference, and the Detroit Red Wings need to get on a roll in January to mask their awful December.
Let's hope the Detroit Red Wings finish this road trip off strong, achieving six of six possible points on Sunday evening.