Alex Lyon and Sean Couturier lead Flyers to insane 6-3 win over Colorado
Reserve goalie Alex Lyon won his first NHL game in nearly two years and Sean Couturier collected three assists as the Flyers beat Colorado 6-3 on Saturday night.
Lyon made 28 saves, including 11 in an otherwise sloppy first period, to put the Flyers in position to get back into the playoff race. Finally for another 24 hours.
Joel Farabee and Kevin Hayes scored two goals, including a shorthanded count from Hays with less than four minutes to go.
It was only the second time in 15 games that the Flyers have scored at least five goals, but it would have been different without Lyon, who were in the lineup due to Carter Hart’s injury.
“This guy is a hard worker and has a great attitude since he’s been here,” said defenseman Matt Niskanen. “It’s great to see a guy like that win.”
Lyon were called on to make a big game in just 34 seconds when they fought off a wide-open Matt Calvert from inside the right face-off circle. The 27-year-old Yale graduate is entering his 10th NHL game.
“It’s extremely gratifying personally,” said Lyon. “I think I’ve learned at this point to be with these guys, who are so balanced. I think the challenge for me in the next 24 hours is going to be to come back down to earth. I’ve learned the hard way that you just don’t know when you’ll get the chance.
Lyon made two appearances for the AHL Phantoms as the Flyers took advantage of their extended break after All-Star Weekend, most recent Tuesday.
In the second period, Lyon stopped Nathan MacKinnon on a partial breakaway with a solid right pad as MacKinnon tried to bring the puck home. MacKinnon, fourth in the league entering Saturday with 30 goals, then knocked the post 15 seconds later. Sometimes it’s good to be lucky.
“Without a doubt, the difference in this game was Alex,” said coach Alain Vigneault.
The victory propelled the Flyers to eighth and final place in the playoffs in a chase that’s set to change nightly.
Farabee capitalized on two of Couturier’s assists.
“I don’t know how he saw me on the second,” Farabee said.
Every time the Flyers tried to pull away, Colorado kept climbing. With Hart injured and Brian Elliott having played the night before in Pittsburgh, the Flyers had no choice but to go with their third player against a Colorado team that came out on top in the NHL in goals per game.
Lyon’s 28 saves included a save on JT Compher on a full breakaway after Colorado’s third goal in the third period when the game was just 4-3. He didn’t make all the saves, but he did enough to keep the Flyers in the game.
“In general, the substitute goaltender is not an easy position,” said Niskanen. “It must be the hardest part to stay mentally sharp when you don’t have the rhythm. … You have to respect guys who keep a good attitude and who appreciate when they get the chance.
The Flyers travel to Detroit on Sunday and face the Red Wings on Monday. Detroit easily has the fewest points in the league. They are 0-7-1 after losing to the Rangers on Saturday.
Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere skated again on Saturday and looks on track to play in Detroit on Monday. That probably means Robert Hagg would come out.
Carter Hart also worked on Saturday – and will do it again on Sunday – but won’t be available for Detroit on Monday.