NEWARK, N.J. - Unless there's an injury, rookie goalie Alex Lyon has no chance to make the Flyers out of training camp this year.
But the former Yale star raised eyebrows in the first pro performance of his career Monday night, starring in the Flyers' 2-0 split-squad exhibition loss to New Jersey at the sparsely filled Prudential Center.
Signed as an undrafted free agent in April, the 6-foot-1, 198-pound Lyon stopped 28 of 29 shots, including a pair of breakaways by Beau Bennett.
"Solid performance from start to finish," coach Dave Hakstol said of Lyon. "Great demeanor and presence, and just a real steady performance all the way through."
New Jersey iced the win with an empty-net goal with 31.4 seconds remaining.
Lyon conceded he had some early jitters.
"Right when the game started, I felt like a newborn deer. I could barely stand up," he said.
He settled into a groove, however, after stopping Bennett on a breakaway with about 171/2 minutes left in the opening period.
In a sequence in front of the net late in the second period, Lyon made two saves before Nick Lappin scored on a rebound, giving the Devils a 1-0 lead.
In the Flyers' other split-squad exhibition, the Islanders scored a 3-0 win in Brooklyn.
Lyon, 23, who drew interest from a dozen NHL teams before signing an entry-level deal with the Flyers, led the nation in goals-against average (1.64) last season and was tied for second in save percentage (.936), steering Yale to the NCAA East Regional semifinals.
The Minnesota native said one of the reasons he signed with the Flyers, bypassing his senior season at Yale, was because goalies Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth can become unrestricted free agents in July.
One of them is expected to re-sign with the Flyers. That would probably leave the Phantoms' Anthony Stolarz and Lyon battling for the backup job down the road. Both are expected to be in Lehigh Valley this season.
"Six months ago, I was watching Travis Zajac on TV, and tonight I'm playing an exhibition game against him," Lyon said. "To be honest, it was pretty cool going up against those guys."
A smiling Lyon said he was "pretty excited to call my mom right now" and tell her about his debut. "I know if I don't call her before I get on the bus, she'll probably drive out here and punch me."
The Flyers used mostly prospects Monday, but defenseman Ivan Provorov and right winger Travis Konecny - the two 19-year-old rookies with the best chance to earn roster spots - played alongside players with a little NHL experience.
Facing a New Jersey lineup that included several veterans, Provorov played the left side and was paired with Brandon Manning (five shots). After an early turnover, Provorov played well and logged a staggering 28 minutes, 48 seconds.
Provorov, who had a nasty bruise on his chin from an errant stick, drew praise from Hakstol, and he said he wasn't tired despite an inordinate amount of playing time in the opener.
"I'm used to playing like that," said Provorov, named the top defenseman in the Western Hockey League last season. "Of course, it's better league and a higher pace and it'll take me a few games to adjust, but I felt well. I had a great summer [training] and I felt great."
Konecny played on a line with center Andy Miele and left winger Scott Laughton. The line was on the ice for Lappin's goal.