Around the Atlantic: Red Wings’ Lyon standing tall, Thompson makes return for Sabres & Senators stay in the mix

Photo credit:Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
7 months ago
The NHL’s 2023-24 season has reached the quarter mark for most teams across the league, and so far, the Atlantic Division reigns supreme. The Detroit Red Wings have quickly become a team to watch. Goaltender Alex Lyon is starting to heat up and Patrick Kane is expected to make his debut in the coming days. Is Motown becoming a wagon? The Buffalo Sabres have been trying to keep the ship afloat while their superstar Tage Thompson was on the shelf. Thompson took a shot in the hand and hadn’t played since Nov.14 before suiting up against the red hot Red Wings on Tuesday night. He recorded one assist in his return, the Sabres will need much more of this moving forward. Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators are scratching their way up the standings after a recent 6-2 win against the New York Rangers. The Senators have won two in a row and ownership continues to be one of their most entertaining elements this season.

Alex Lyon Becoming a Story to Follow

Steve Yzerman is one of a few executives who are carrying three goaltenders this season. While James Reimer and Ville Husso have been carrying the load, Lyon made his debut on Nov.17 and hasn’t looked back. The 30-year-old netminder stopped 29 of 32 shots to beat the Sabres on Tuesday and Lyon’s not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The 6-foot-3 goaltender signed a two-year deal in Detroit the first day of free agency and Yzerman once again looks like a savvy GM for the decision. Lyon’s known to be streaky and if the team in front of him kicks it up another notch with Kane joining the mix, things could get dangerous in Detroit.
Lyon’s appeared in five of the last eight games for the Red Wings and he’s making it look easy. He carries a 4-1-0 record, one shutout and an impressive 1.61 GAA and .947 Sv%. It’s unknown at this time what Yzerman’s long terms plans are with his goaltenders, as carrying three isn’t ideal. Husso and Reimer have 10-team and seven-team modified no-trade clauses in their respective contracts as Husso makes $4.5 million through next season, meanwhile, Reimer is a pending free agent, making $1.5 million as the eldest of the group.
We’ll have to wait and see how things play out in Motown. What is known is that the Red Wings are heating up, Lyon wants the starter’s net and Patty Kane is chomping at the bit to get going. Surely, Alex DeBrincat is as excited as he’s been all season.

Thompson Returns in Buffalo

The Sabres went 3-4-1 without their star forward in the lineup. Buffalo is 10-14-2 on the season and thanks to Lyon and the Red Wings, have now lost four straight. Thompson was off to a mediocre start to his year and will need to catch fire to get the Sabres back on track and back into the playoff picture in the east. They currently sit just two points ahead of the Senators for last place in the east.
Buffalo was relying on young goaltender Devon Levi to take a big step forward this season and it just hasn’t worked out so far. After posting a .877 Sv.% in nine appearances, GM Kevyn Adams sent Levi down and he’s posted a .921 Sv.% in a couple of AHL appearances. Adams is hopeful a quick reset will do the trick, meanwhile Eric Comrie started last night against the Red Wings and stopped 22 of 26 shots in the loss. Comrie’s won just once in seven appearance.
The Sabres host the Maple Leafs on the 21st of the month as the KeyBank Center will be littered with Maple Leafs jersey, like always. Sabres vs Maple Leafs games in Buffalo are always entertaining and enjoyed by a ruckus crowd. Let’s hope the matchup in a few weeks brings much of the same.

Senators Trying to Stay Relevant

The Senators defeated the Rangers 6-2 Tuesday night thanks to Brady Tkachuk and Vladimir Tarasenko both scoring twice. Ottawa is trying to get going before the end of the calendar year and work their way back up the standings.
Owner Michael Andlauer was his usual candid self at the first day of the Board of Governors meeting and had this to say about the Sens being rained on with boos and the process of becoming relevant again:
I totally understand their angst. I do appreciate, and I love these fans, they are passionate. They have also gone six years without making the playoffs. The only thing I can say is that I’m as big a fan. I know I cannot socialize when the game is on. I’m pretty intense. It’s a process. I’m a new boss. I’m looking at all our key employees and trying to understand and making sure they have the right tools to be successful. Steve is working pretty hard at this. I can feel the fans’ angst. There’s some areas of improvement. We’re making notes. It’s so early in the season. I’ll leave it at that.
The Senators are 6-4-0 in their past 10 games and on the season, have only played five of 20 on the road. Perhaps some more time to bond together on a road trip could help boost chemistry and turn into some more points on the ice. Ottawa does have a 10-day, five-game road trip scheduled for the middle of December. The Sens host the Maple Leafs this Thursday night and head to Toronto on the 27th of the month. Ottawa blew out the Leafs 6-3 back in early November and will look for much of the same this week. The Senators are 3-4-0 against division rivals to start the season.

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