Devils rookie Black­wood gets first shutout

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Scoreboard -

NE­WARK, N.J. — Goal­tend­ing has been a soft spot for the New Jersey Devils as they tum­bled into last place in the Eastern Con­fer­ence.

Rookie Macken­zie Black­wood might be the so­lu­tion as they try to climb back into the play­off chase.

Black­wood stopped 37 shots for his first shutout and Pavel Zacha scored short-handed as the Devils beat the Carolina Hur­ri­canes 2-0 on Sat­ur­day.

It was the sec­ond straight vic­tory for Black­wood, giv­ing the Devils their first two-game win­ning streak since Nov. 13-15.

“It’s huge,” said Black­wood. “It’s awe­some. Ev­ery­one dreams about this kind of stuff. The chal­lenge here is to just keep go­ing, keep mov­ing for­ward, keep hav­ing suc­cess.”

The Devils cer­tainly hope so.

They are without Cory Schnei­der who re­mains side­lined with an ab­dom­i­nal strain. Keith Kinkaid, who helped back­stop the Devils last sea­son to their first play­off ap­pear­ance in six years, hasn’t been as ef­fec­tive with a 12-10-6 record.

Andy Greene added an empty-net­ter to seal the win with Zacha pick­ing up an as­sist.

Cur­tis McEl­hin­ney made 28 saves for the Hur­ri­canes who have lost four of their last five.

Once again, the power play fiz­zled for the Hur­ri­canes. They went 0 for 5 with the man ad­van­tage, and have not scored a power-play goal in six straight games.

“It’s re­ally frus­trat­ing,” Se­bas­tian Aho said. “All those chances and you just can’t score to help your team win. When you’re on the first power-play unit, it’s you job to score those goals.”

Zacha broke a score­less dead­lock with 36 sec­onds left in the sec­ond pe­riod. He poked the puck away from Carolina’s Justin Faulk and sped into the Hur­ri­canes’ zone. McEl­hin­ney made the ini­tial stop and Zacha stayed with the play to col­lar the re­bound and flip it into the net.

“On the break­away, I was try­ing to see what the goalie does but the puck was a lit­tle bit wob­bly there, so I tried to shoot it,” Zacha said. “I was lucky I got a re­bound back.”

Carolina pressed for the equal­izer in the third but couldn’t beat Black­wood. He stoned Aho with a pad save with about six min­utes left to pre­serve the shutout.

Teuvo Ter­a­vainen seem­ingly net­ted the ty­ing goal with 1:58 left only to have the goal waved off for ac­ci­den­tal goalie in­ter­fer­ence. The Hur­ri­canes ap­pealed the call, which was up­held by the video re­view.

“I had no idea what was go­ing to hap­pen there,” Black­wood said. “You never know the way those go. It was for­tu­nate enough to get waved off, and the boys bat­tled all the way.”

Justin Wil­liams, the Hur­ri­cane clos­est to Black­wood, dis­agreed.

“It’s up­set­ting. Very up­set­ting,” Wil­liams said. “That’s how we have to score goals. Get­ting to the net and screen­ing goal­tenders. I was in front of the net. I didn’t feel him touch me and I didn’t feel I touched him.”

The Hur­ri­canes out­shot the Devils 13-9 in the first pe­riod with most com­ing from the point or the perime­ter. In the fi­nal sec­onds, Ter­a­vainen had one of the few good in-close chances, only to be de­nied by Black­wood.

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