Black­wood re­turns to lead Devils over Flyers

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - By Tom Cana­van

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.

JULIO CORTEZ — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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.

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