The Future Looks Bright For Devils Mackenzie BlackwoodPosted: Updated:
Binghamton, N.Y. - It's moments that matter in life right? Sometimes small, sometimes big, sometimes several moments that all come together as one. For Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood those moments all came to light in December of 2018. Not behind close doors, although, the process to getting to the big moment wasn't so advertised, even if advertised at all.
On Monday, December 17 the twenty-two year old received the call to New Jersey. With NHL veteran Cory Schneider put back on injured reserve after an abdominal strain and Keith Kinkaid having a not so good season, Blackwoods chances of making his NHL debut were pretty hopeful. On December 18, that hope became reality, when the young goalie clocked 20 minutes in relief in the Devils game against Toronto.
After that? Well, the rest is history. Literally making history on a team that has been struggling with consistent goal tending this season, the rookie has showed some glimpses of hope. Recording back-to-back shut outs on December 29 and December 31, Blackwood became the first Devils rookie goaltender to ever post back-to-back shut outs. But, wait, Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur had to have done that? In his four rookie games with the Devils, he never did. Blackwood became the first.
"Goalies I've always watched, that didn't even happen for them. So, you take it and be appreciative when it happens. Just, know it's not going to last forever" said Blackwood.
"I didn't really have time to sit back and think about it. But, the last couple of days I had a second to think about it. But, you know, you can't be satisfied. It's cool it happened, but now you keep trying to build off it and keep going."
Blackwood was sent back down to Binghamton on January 19 during New Jersey's bye-week.
The highs, the lows, finding constant consistency, it's the name of the game, we all all know that. But even with the ups and downs throughout the twelve games he's played with New Jersey he's showing great potential.
"That's when you're lifestyle and habits come into place. For sure, I mean, you can't just get content with where you're at. You can't get down on some failures. You gotta stay level and keep going, stay even keel" said Blackwood.
"You know you almost forget how young he is still. It's great to see a young guy kind of have success and feel good about his game. So, you wanna help him and support him. Reinforce that he's doing the right thing" said Cory Schneider.
In Blackwood's twelve games with New Jersey he has a .924 save-percentage. In Comparison to the rest of the NHL, Blackwoods stats are good and if he had enough games to qualify for league standings, he would find himself fourth in the NHL in save percentage. Although, since Blackwood's lower-body injury on January 4, he hasn't been as consistent as his first week in the NHL, he's still putting up good numbers when you look at the goaltenders numbers around him.
"It's not going to be perfect, even the best in the world aren't gonna get it all the time. So, just be realistic and have realistic goals. Keep working trying to get better everyday" Blackwood said.
Although Blackwood's immediate future during New Jersey's bye-week is here in Binghamton, his future in the crease for New Jersey, certainly looks bright.