Panthers' Barkov: Lyon 'gave us every chance' in crucial win vs. Leafs
"I Just Can't Wait to Be King" from "The Lion King" was heard blasting from the Florida Panthers' locker room Wednesday night, according to team beat reporter Jameson Olive, and for good reason.
In just his seventh start this season, goaltender Alex Lyon made 38 saves in a crucial 3-2 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, which helped the Panthers snap a four-game skid and gain ground in the wild-card race.
"He gave us every chance to win the game. He stopped the penalty shot, a huge couple of saves in overtime, and throughout the whole game," captain Aleksander Barkov said postgame, according to Bally Sports Florida.
"He's the type of guy who brings the joy into the locker room and on the ice. You want to play good in front of him. I still think we could have done a little better job in front of him, but he didn't need that today."
Lyon saved 0.95 goals above expected at all strengths, per Natural Stat Trick, and few were as important as the stop he made on Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews in the extra frame.
Lyon said a study session with fellow Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky - who missed the contest due to illness - helped that play come to fruition.
"(Matthews) scored on (Bobrovsky) in Florida like that last week," Lyon said, according to Olive. "We talked about that a lot, how he's so good at moving to the net-front quickly."
Head coach Paul Maurice grabbed a share of the spotlight Wednesday when he directed an expletive-filled tirade at his bench in the second period shortly before the Maple Leafs saw a goal disallowed.
"(It) was just where I was at," Maurice said, per Bally Sports Florida. "If I could have yelled louder, if I could have found a f-----g way to be more profane than I was, I would have.
"I'm not gifted enough, I needed to channel my father, who is a gifted curser."
The victory drew the Panthers within one point of the Penguins for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, though Pittsburgh has a game in hand.
Lyon made it clear that the Panthers believe in themselves with just seven games remaining.
"We all know what the standings look like," the 30-year-old said, according to Olive. "What've (we) got to lose? ... This is what you play the game for."
Florida will face the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
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