The New Jersey Devils have finally found a formula for success. Just put Mackenzie Blackwood in the goal.
Blackwood scored 36 saves when it won its fifth consecutive start, and the Devils defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Thursday night at the Prudential Center in Newark.
Blackwood downplayed the success, saying that his teammates are playing well and that he has benefited from working with goalkeeper coach Rollie Melanson.
"He's technically pretty good so he helped me a lot," said Blackwood, who is 6-0-1 in his last seven starts. "Helped me with my game and I think I was lucky that we have had the results lately, so I don't think anything will change."
During his winning streak, Blackwood allowed five goals and scored two shutouts.
"Blackie made some big saves when it was 1-0 (San Jose) to keep it tight," said Devil's interim coach Alain Nasreddine.
Jesper Bratt linked the game 1-0 late in the second half and defender P.K. Subban scored the winner in a power play at the beginning of the third period.
"I am delighted to be making a contribution that will help our team win," said Subban, who struggled with the Devils in his first season. "I've never been a guy in my career who just looks at the numbers. I want to get meaningful points and produce when the game is on the line. Today. I was in this position to shoot a puck and it worked for me. "
Defender Tim Heed scored at the start of his four-game journey for San Jose. Martin Jones had 23 saves, including a fantastic stop with the shaft of his racket on Nikita Gusev when the Sharks played two men briefly in the second period.
Gusev supported the goals of both devils.
While the Sharks left the Devils behind, Evander Kane (suspension), Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture and Erik Karlsson (injuries) were missing from their lineup.
"These are the games that show the lack of insult, the lack of dexterity that is outside of our lineup," said Sharks interim coach Bob Boughner. "You can get by for a few nights, hit a powerplay goal, or get a few bounces, and you get lucky."
The way the Blackwood played, the Sharks needed more talent.
Subban's seventh goal of the season fell with a shot over the right circle, which defeated a shielded Jones and broke a 1-0 draw at 2:56 a.m. It came with the best penalty unit in the league, just 10 seconds before the fifth penalty in a row.
"I think we made some important saves and he gave us the chance to win," said Boughner about Jones. “He looks big and confident there. I'm happy to see that. I think his game has gone around the corner. "
Blackwood secured victory with stops against Radim Simek and Patrick Marleau in the final minutes. He has a 20-12-7 record for a team that has 23 wins.
The Devils ended the game with a 1-0 draw from Bratt towards the end of the second round. The Swede took a pass from Pavel Zacha behind the defense and struck Jones at 4:15 p.m. with a decent backhand forehand move.
Heed gave the Shark the lead with 7:22 after the first pass with his first goal of the season and the first in 44 games almost a year ago. Devil striker Kevin Rooney seemed to flip the point past Blackwood.
Devils scratched defender Will Butcher (lower body) and striker Nicholas Merkley (eye). They were injured against the blues on Tuesday. … Goalie Cory Schneider and defender Dakota Mermis were recalled from Binghamton (AHL).