NEWARK, N.J. — Mackenzie Blackwood made 32 saves to help the New Jersey Devils end a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Prudential Center on Saturday.
The rookie goalie, playing his first game since sustaining a lower-body injury on Jan. 4, won his fourth game of the season and first since Dec. 31.
“I was happy with my overall performance but there are areas I want to clean up, like some technical things,” Blackwood said. “The team played great in front of me again. There’s momentum swings so you just have to be ready for whatever comes your way and hopefully come up with a couple saves.”
[WATCH: All Flyers vs. Devils highlights]
Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist, and Damon Severson and Miles Wood each scored for the Devils (17-20-7), who are 2-4-0 in their past six games.
“I can’t imagine how much pressure you have as a goalie because if you make a mistake, it’s in the net,” Hischier said. “If you make a mistake as a forward, you have a defenseman there and the goalie. So, what he’s doing is pretty impressive.”
Sean Couturier and James van Riemsdyk each had a goal and an assist, and Carter Hart made 23 saves for the Flyers (16-23-6), who have lost nine of their past 10 games (1-7-2). Couturier’s two points give him 301 (117 goals, 184 assists) in 541 NHL games, all with the Flyers.
“It’s been frustrating,” van Riemsdyk said. “We shoot ourselves in the foot a lot and we 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 Flyers had a 6-on-4 advantage when Severson took a hooking penalty and Hart was pulled for an extra attacker 16:56 into the third period, but the Devils allowed one shot on goal to maintain a 3-1 lead.
Hischier gave the Devils a 2-0 lead 5:08 into the second period after stealing the puck from Travis Sanheim at center ice and scoring on a backhand shot 15 seconds after serving a hooking penalty. The 20-year-old is the third Devils player to reach 30 points (13 goals, 18 assists) this season, joining Taylor Hall (11 goals, 26 assists) and Kyle Palmieri (20 goals, 16 assists).
“I got a stick on [the turnover] and got a breakaway but I’ve missed a couple of breakaways this season, so it feels good that one went in,” Hischier said. “Everybody in this room tries their best every game but this League is so tough that if you don’t play detailed, it’s tough to win. I think we came out strong, played detailed, and won so it feels good.”
Van Riemsdyk scored his eighth goal of the season off a 2-on-1 with Claude Giroux 15:51 into the second to pull the Flyers within 2-1.
“I will say this about our group, we keep playing until the end,” van Riemsdyk said. “There’s some frustration about why we get into these situations with the mistakes we’re making. Ultimately we have to keep playing and keep going.”
Wood controlled a loose puck at the left post and scored 1:18 into the third period to extend the lead to 3-1. Couturier scored off a wrist shot 19:58 into the third to make it 3-2. The Wood-Travis Zajac-Blake Coleman line combined for 11 shots on Saturday.
The Devils took a 1-0 lead when Severson scored from the bottom of the left circle off a slap shot 6:32 into the first period.
They said it
“We had a lot of unforced errors, turnovers. They played well in the neutral zone, but we kind of forced things and turned pucks over and could not get anything going off the rush. We had our chances, but they capitalized on theirs and, at the end of the day, we have to find a way to win some games.” — Flyers center Sean Couturier
“You can see that there’s a little bit of hate out there. I didn’t really know too much about (the Devils-Flyers rivalry) but I started to see it. You can see the emotion. It’s nice when guys care so much like that. As a goalie, you just have to play your game and not get too wrapped up in it.” — Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood
Need to know
Flyers forward Jakub Voracek has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past eight games. … The game marked the first time since March 11, 1987, that the Devils (Craig Billington) and Flyers (Ron Hextall) played a game with two rookie goalies. … Devils forward Marcus Johansson returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with an upper-body injury and had no shots in 17:34 of ice time. The Devils finished 0-for-5 on the power play and are 0-for-16 in the past five games.
Flyers: Host the Minnesota Wild on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSP, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV)
Devils: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)