Alex Lyon

Flyers prospect Alex Lyon becomes latest goalie with Gritty mask

Flyers prospect Alex Lyon becomes latest goalie with Gritty mask

Maybe Alex Lyon is trying to scare his opponents?

Who knows, but he loves himself a terrifying goalie mask.

We've seen it before with his movie-themed masks: "The Sixth Sense," "It" and "Saw."

This time, he's going with Gritty.

The Flyers' mascot truly is a hit, especially with the goalies.

Lyon's mask is the fourth Gritty-centric helmet this season.

Anthony Stolarz, Mike McKenna and Calvin Pickard all got in on the fun.

Per usual, goalie mask artist David Gunnarsson hit a home run with his latest mask (and so did Alex McIntyre with the picture of Lyon).

Not only will Lyon look scary in net, but he's also playing well.

In 26 games with the Phantoms, the 26-year-old has put up career bests in goals-against average (2.50) and save percentage (.921).

Lehigh Valley is fighting for an AHL playoff spot. Flyers fans will want to check out the prospects in Allentown … and to see that Gritty mask, of course.

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Grading the Flyers' goaltenders at the bye week

Grading the Flyers' goaltenders at the bye week

Throughout the bye week, we’ll break down the Flyers by position in assessing our midseason grades.

It’s been a season of goaltending unlike any other with a record number seven different netminders saw action in the first 43 games of the regular season. 

From a 33-year-old veteran to a 20-year-old rookie and everything in between, here are the seven goalies who have appeared in net for the Flyers through the midway point. 

Carter Hart

Grade: A-
Stats: 6-5-1, 2.66 GAA, .918 save percentage, 12 games

Hart is incredibly mature for a 20-year-old rookie who is quickly becoming the story of the season. His four victories lead all NHL goaltenders over the past 10 days coupled with a .932 save percentage over his last seven starts.

With Hart in net, the Flyers' penalty kill has operated at an 88 percent rate of success, not allowing more than one power-play goal in any of his 12 starts. If Hart continues to build upon his impressive NHL start, he might work his way in as a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.

Brian Elliott

Grade: B
Stats: 6-7-0, 2.59 GAA, .911 save percentage, 14 games

Provided a sense of stability to the position earlier in the season. The Flyers were 9-9-1 at the time of his injury and 10-14-5 since. Had Elliott stayed healthy, the Flyers very well could be knocking on the playoff door.

Take away the home opener against the Sharks, when the Flyers were a defensive mess, and Elliott has an impressive 2.14 GAA with a .951 save percentage in his other 13 appearances.

Anthony Stolarz

Grade: C-
Stats: 2-3-2, 3.90 GAA, .880 save percentage, 9 games

One of the few goaltenders whose numbers are not indicative of how well he’s played. Has shown a tremendous amount of mental fortitude working his way back from injury. Started with a solid relief appearance in Toronto, where he stopped 33 of 35 shots followed with impressive road victories at Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

Was counted on in early December to manage the bulk of the workload with six appearances in a 10-day stretch. If Stolarz can build up his game with the Phantoms over the remainder of this season, then he should be a viable option as a backup to Hart next season. 

Cal Pickard

Grade: D-
Stats: 4-2-2, 4.01 GAA, .863 save percentage, 11 games

A fringe NHL backup, Pickard was snatched off waivers from the Maple Leafs just prior to the season opener. With a 4-2-2 record in eight starts, Pickard has the highest points percentage (.750) of the seven different goalies who have appeared in a game this season.

Pickard’s best start came in a 31-save shutout Nov. 23 against the Rangers, to only follow that up with a disastrous game at Toronto, where he allowed four goals in 12 minutes. Too erratic in net and only steady enough for the occasional spot start.

Michal Neuvirth

Grade: F
Stats: 1-4-1, 4.27 GAA, .859 save percentage, 7 games

Has been an absolutely disastrous season for the 30-year-old free agent who may be playing his final season in the NHL. Can no longer be counted on to stay healthy or be a reliable backup moving forward.

How bad has it been for Neuvirth? Among NHL goalies with at least six starts this season, Neuvirth is 70th out of 71 goalies with an .859 save percentage, and among that group, his one win ties him with Mike McKenna for league low. Neuvirth’s one redeeming stat line — a perfect 4 for 4 in the shootout.

Mike McKenna

Grade: Incomplete
Stats: 0-1-1, 4.22 GAA, .833 save percentage, 1 game

Hard to judge based on one game in net. McKenna allowed four goals in his only start in Washington on Jan. 8. Should be interesting to see how long McKenna remains in Philadelphia with Neuvirth expected to return in the weeks following the All-Star break. 

Should see one of the two back-to-back games coming out of the break, either at home against Winnipeg or in New York. Like Pickard, a borderline NHL goalie who has hung around. McKenna’s only win this season came with the Senators against his current Flyers on Nov. 27.

Alex Lyon

Grade: Incomplete
Stats: 0-1-1, 5.08 GAA, .806 save percentage, 2 games

After filling in admirably during the 2017-18 season, Lyon appeared out of place during his one start in Buffalo, where he was pulled after four first-period goals. Didn’t look much better in his next appearance, replacing an injured Stolarz in Vancouver a month later.

Barring another onslaught of injuries, it’s doubtful that Lyon will see action with the Flyers again this season.

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Carter Hart called up by Flyers with Anthony Stolarz's injury

Carter Hart called up by Flyers with Anthony Stolarz's injury

Updated: 2:22 p.m.

VOORHEES, N.J. — Here comes the kid.

The much anticipated NHL debut of promising prospect Carter Hart could happen as soon as Tuesday when the Flyers take on the Red Wings.

The Flyers on Monday recalled the 20-year-old goaltender after sending Alex Lyon back to Lehigh Valley and losing Anthony Stolarz for the next two to four weeks with a lower-body injury. Stolarz left last Saturday’s game not long after giving up two goals on the Canucks' first four shots (see story)

"I was actually at our team Christmas party last night when I got the call from our coach Scott Gordon, so I was pretty excited," Hart said Monday. "It's something I’ve dreamt of as a kid. I’ve always wanted to be an NHL hockey player since I was 4 years old. When I got the call, I was really excited and kind of shaking with enthusiasm a little bit."

Lyon’s effort in Vancouver was clearly subpar after allowing two easily stoppable goals — Josh Leivo’s sharp-angle shot from near the goal line and Brock Boeser’s slap shot from just inside the blue line that gave the Canucks a 4-1 lead.

At this point, what do the Flyers have to lose? 

It may be the one move capable of galvanizing a Flyers fan base desperate for change. Hart has been widely considered the long-term answer to the Flyers' longtime goaltending issues.

Hart appears to have adjusted recently to the AHL level with a 4-1-0 record, 1.82 GAA and .939 save percentage since Nov. 30. He also recorded his first career shutout with the Phantoms with a 1-0 win over the Hershey Bears on Dec. 7.

"I think I’m just trusting my game and not overthinking plays,” Hart said on his recent resurgence. “I know earlier in the year making the transition from juniors to the pro level, I was overanalyzing everything. I obviously talked with the coaches down there and my goalie coaches back home, and I just got to trust my game. I've got to play to my strengths. When it’s game time, it’s just time to play.”

Interestingly, Hart could start Tuesday night’s game at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers' first game back on home ice since Dec. 6. Michal Neuvirth left the team Thursday in Edmonton to be with his wife Karolina, who gave birth to a baby boy Sunday night.

Regardless of how well Hart has played with the Phantoms recently, it remains to be seen how much he can mask the Flyers' ongoing defensive issues. Over the final four games of the current five-game road trip, the Flyers allowed 22 goals, an average of 5.5 goals per game. 

Hart’s call-up could be seen as a blessing; it could also signal a curse as the team has been snakebitten all season with injuries to four different goaltenders.

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