The Florida Panthers are on an upswing. In their last 10 games, they are 7-2-1 and trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by three points for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, although the Penguins have two games in hand.
Earlier this season, goaltender Spencer Knight was placed on injured reserve. However, he played two games for the Charlotte Checkers on a conditioning stint on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22. He is very close to returning, but the woes continue for the Cats between the pipes. On Thursday, Sergei Bobrovsky exited early in the first period against the Montreal Canadiens with a lower-body injury. He is expected to miss three games at least.
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With that in mind, the Panthers called up 30-year-old Alex Lyon from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, who until Thursday, hadn’t played an NHL regular-season game since Jan. 8, 2022, with the Carolina Hurricanes, interestingly, against the Panthers. Still, he has stood his ground and played well enough to earn some valuable wins for the team.
The Heart of a “Lyon”
Against the Habs, Lyon saved 25 of 27 shots and finished with a .920 save percentage (SV%). In his first start with the Panthers against the Minnesota Wild, he stopped 32 of 35 shots with an SV% of .908. Those two performances brought him to a .912 SV% and a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.55. His performance has boosted the teams morale as a result.
His performance means management has a good problem on their hands when Knight and Bobrovsky return from injury.
His Teammates are Invigorated by his Performance
Lyon gave his team a chance to win over his last two starts due to the face that he was playing out of his mind.
Even if he was nervous, despite looking calm and collected, in his first game in over a year, Lyon gave his team a much-needed two points.
What’s Next for Lyon?
Lyon is expected to get the nod for Monday’s (Jan. 23) matchup against the high-powered New York Rangers as Knight continues his conditioning stint with the Checkers and Bobrovsky moves along in his healing process. The team has full confidence in Lyon and can use him as long as they need to as they need to make sure their two goaltenders are fully healthy. If he’s still riding a hot streak, the team could keep him post All-Star break.
Right now, the team is in great hands with their diamond-in-the-rough goaltender. After failing to sign a stable third-string goaltender after the Andrew Hammond tryout during the offseason, this is a pleasant surprise for the front office. Lyon is making the best of his call-up, and he’s beginning to turn heads.
My name is Joey. I’ve been writing about the NHL for about 3 years with my experience spread out between TSJ 101 Sports and Panther Parkway. I look forward to you reading my articles!