The New Jersey Devils came into last night’s contest against the Los Angeles Kings after a 5-0 shutout victory for Mackenzie Blackwood and the Devils against the Philadelphia Flyers. While the Kings are similar to the Devils with regards to the area of the standings they currently reside, the Devils did not take them lightly, earning a 3-0 victory and shutouts for Blackwood in back-to-back games. The Devils were outshot by the Kings but did ultimately dominate the play and flow for most of the game.
The scoring for the Devils did not start until the second period when Nikita Gusev blasted one into the back of the net off a pass from Damon Severson to make it 1-0. The Devils would score their second goal a little bit later from Blake Coleman, who wristed one past Petersen from the slot on the power play. The third goal was scored off a redirection, where it appeared Hughes had tipped an Andy Greene shot from the point into the net, but the final scoring gave the goal to Kyle Palmieri. Blackwood would earn his shutout as well, as Anze Kopitar was awarded a penalty shot that Blackwood stopped, and he made some big saves when the Devils were pinned in their own end
Blackwood is absolutely the Devils’ goalie for now and in the future. Coming off of back-to-back shutouts, it still makes sense for the Devils to manage his usage and not burn him out in a lost season. But next year, he should be given the reigns and opportunity to run with the job. Blackwood continues to progress, which is phenomenal because having a top goalie in the NHL is a luxury and requirement to win the Cup, and I have all the faith that Blackwood will develop into one.
Can we stop messing around and sign Blake Coleman and Kyle Palmieri to contract extensions right now? Seriously, I consider both players to be huge offensive presences on this team and even a part of this core of players that are setting the Devils up for the future. The Devils may have some pieces that people label as being options at the Trade Deadline, but I do not want to get rid of key players that will help in the immediate future because I believe this rebuild ends in the immediate future.