Blackwood returns to lead Devils over Flyers
NEWARK, N.J. >> Nine games into his NHL career, Mackenzie Blackwood is starting to emerge as the New Jersey Devils’ No. 1 goaltender.
Blackwood returned to the lineup after missing three games with an injury and made 32 saves in leading the Devils to a muchneeded 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
“I can’t imagine how much pressure you have as a goalie if you make a mistake, it’s back in the net,” said Nico Hischier, who got the game-winning goal on a breakaway in the second period.
“If you do a mistake as a forward, you have a defenseman usually still there and you have the goalie. So what he’s doing is pretty impressive for me.”
The 22-year-old Blackwood, who was called up from Binghamton after Cory Schneider went on injured reserve, is 4-2 in seven starts and two relief appearances. He has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of his nine appearances, including one where he had to leave after one period because of a lower body injury that forced him to miss three games.
There is no doubt the Devils, who need a big second half to get into playoff contention, have shown life when he plays.
“I love that my teammates feel that way, but from my perspective, I feel like they make my job easy,” Blackwood said. “It’s just kind of like working off each other. I guess they’re working off me and I’m working off them. It’s great team chemistry.”
Damon Severson and Miles Wood also scored as the Devils won for the second time in six games and handed the Flyers their ninth loss in the past 10 games (1-7-2).
James Van Riemsdyk and Sean Couturier scored for Philadelphia. Carter Hart gave the Flyers a chance, making 23 saves.
“Certainly it’s been frustrating,” said Van Riemsdyk after scoring in his second straight game. “We shoot ourselves in the foot a lot and it makes you have to chase the game a lot of the time. It’s tough. We did do some good things, but ultimately we made some key mistakes and they ended up in the back of our net.”
The game between the struggling Eastern Conference teams was a matchup of two young goaltenders who have played well since being called up from the minor leagues because of injuries.
New Jersey Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood, center, falls back to the ice while trying to defend his net against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday in Newark, N.J. The Devils won 3-2.