Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Lyon separates himself from the field

Alex Lyon continues to put on a show in goal for the Detroit Red Wings.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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Call him whatever you'd like. "The Lyon king, Kinger," whatever you want; I call Alex Lyon the starting goaltender of the Detroit Red Wings. Head coach Derek Lalonde continues to ride the hot hand in goal, and it's paid off for Detroit over the past week-plus.

With Ville Husso sidelined and still unable to go into the butterfly, the Detroit Red Wings have needed a spark in the net, and that is precisely what they've got from Lyon. Oh, and James Reimer, despite a good start to the season, hasn't been able to stop a beach ball since the Red Wings played in Sweden.

On Thursday night, the Red Wings welcomed the high-flying Edmonton Oilers to town. With how poorly Detroit has played defensively for the majority of the season, things didn't exactly look great on paper for the Red Wings, with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl riding an eight-game win streak coming to town. For most of the game, Lyon was up to the task; he made 44 saves on the night. Although the Red Wings lost 3-2 in overtime, it was Lyon who continued to shine bright for the majority of the contest.

A few strange things happened to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night. If you did not watch the game and just looked at the shots (47-17), you'd think the ice was heavily slanted. Although it was at times, the Detroit Red Wings hit a couple of goal posts/crossbars (Patrick Kane, Robby Fabbri) and had a clear plan defensively heading into the game. Detroit, for the most part, forced McDavid and Draisaitl to the outside. McDavid likes to utilize his elite speed to create offense off the rush, and Draisaitl is equally as dangerous but likes to outmuscle you on the wall and work down low. He's also destructive in space, but if you can keep a tight gap while defending him, he will try to overpower you. Lalonde and co. elected to match up Moritz Seider and Jake Walman against the McDavid line, and Ben Chiarot and Jeff Petry opposed Draisaitl for most of the evening.

The Oilers received goals from McDavid, former Wolverine Zach Hyman, and Darnell Nurse. The McDavid goal was odd because the Detroit Red Wings were bunched up near the blue line at their bench amid a line change as the Oilers were tagging up from an off-side. When McDavid saw some space and blew by Walman, who stopped playing for a second and raised his arm to gesture, he thought the play was off-side. That's all McDavid needs, a split second, and he's gone.

The Hyman goal was a lapse in defense with all five Detroit Red Wings down near the goal line when the puck found its way into the slot where an uncovered Hyman was waiting to unload a clapper past a helpless Lyon. The overtime goal from Nurse was a scramble with tired Red Wings more or less standing around. Lyon lost his stick on the play; actually, he oddly dropped it after a poke check and didn't exactly seem square or set on the Nurse shot that whistled over his right shoulder.

The Detroit Red Wings received goals from Andrew Copp, who snapped a shot from the high slot over the left shoulder of former Red Wing Calvin Pickard. The attempt came after some hard work from Christian Fischer and Michael Rasmussen, who managed to win a board battle before finding an open Copp. The second Red Wing goal came from Olli Maatta, who deposited some loose change sitting in the crease after Lucas Raymond shoveled what looked to be a harmless shot toward the goal that got lost under the pads of Pickard. As they say, throw the puck at the net, kids and good things happen.

Alex Lyon has masked some of the Detroit Red Wings defensive woes.

One thing that needs to be said, the Detroit Red Wings have killed off 22 straight penalties. A main reason? Alex Lyon. The goaltender needs to be a team's best penalty killer, and Lyon has been dialed in of late. Lyon has made six straight starts for the Red Wings, going 4-1-1 over that stretch. Prior to his stellar 44-save performance on Thursday, he had posted a .906 save percentage paired with a 3.00 goals-against average.

Lyon is now 8-4-1 on the season for the Detroit Red Wings. Before Thursday's game, he had maintained a .920 save percentage and a 2.51 goals-against average. So, even when Husso is ready to return, the starting job is Lyon's to lose.

With the Detroit Red Wings set to play back-to-back weekend games against the Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs, unfortunately, Reimer will be forced into duty. If it were me, I'd start Reimer at home against the Kings and Lyon on the road in Toronto. There is not much room for error in the Eastern Conference, and despite a tough stretch of the schedule, Detroit needs to keep finding a way to earn points.

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