Blackwood blanks reeling Flyers as Devils end 4-game skid
By TOM CANAVAN
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) The last thing the reeling Philadelphia Flyers needed was having to play against goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood of the New Jersey Devils.
Blackwood had never lost in regulation in nine previous games against the Flyers, and nothing changed on Wednesday night.
Blackwood made 25 saves as the Devils snapped a four-game skid and sent the Flyers to their 10th straight loss, 3-0 on Wednesday night.
"I felt like, you know, we really needed a win tonight," Blackwood said after his second shutout of the season and eighth of his career. "I felt like we should have gotten a win last game as well, played pretty well last game and tonight but definitely a must win for us. It's great that we came out on the right end of that."
Jesper Bratt had a second-period goal and assisted on a power-play goal by rookie Dawson Mercer later in the period. Michael McLeod scored into an empty net late as the Devils beat the Flyers for the second time in 10 days.
"I thought probably our best game defensively. Not a lot of breakdowns, a couple that Mackenzie had to clean up for us," Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. "We were diligent with our play in our own end, put the puck in a lot of good places, we had people back, protected the middle of the ice and played a solid game."
Carter Hart had 24 saves for the Flyers, who fell to 0-2 under interim coach Mike Yeo. He took over on Monday after Alain Vigneault was fired.
Yeo said the Flyers can't get wrapped up in the big picture, especially while playing five games in seven days.
"If we're sitting here and we're looking at the losses that are piling up and the streak that we're on right now and all the stuff that's happened, then we're really not looking at what's ahead of us," Yeo said. "Obviously that affects your preparation, that affects you while you're in the moment. So we have to find a way to take advantage of each day that we have right now."
The Flyers' 10-game skid (0-8-2) is two shy of the team's longest winless streak. The record of 12 games (0-8-4) was set from Feb. 24-March 16, 1999. Philadelphia's last win was 2-1 over Calgary on Nov. 16.
Flyer Defenseman Travis Sanheim said a lot has gone on in the past week.
"Obviously we've got to be better. We know that," he said. "I think a lot of that comes to the confidence and obviously we don't have a ton of that right now. So we're going to try to get out there, get out of this together. No one else is going to help us."
After a scoreless first period, Bratt put the Devils ahead at 5:30 of the second. Standing on the outside of the right circle, he took a cross-ice pass from Nico Hischier and beat Hart with a shot that got between the goaltender and the post for his seventh goal.
Mercer scored on a power play a little more than six minutes later. Defenseman Ty Smith took a shot from the point and Mercer tipped it past Hart for his seventh goal.
Blackwood's toughest save came in the third period when Sanheim skated around two players and was stoned on a backhand attempt in close. Sanheim has not scored a goal in 24 games this season.
Pavel Zacha of the Devils had a goal waved off late in the second period when the Flyers challenged the call for offside and won.
The Flyers and Devils will complete their three-game season series on Dec. 14 in Philadelphia.
The Devils wore their new third jersey for the first time. The black sweater has the word "Jersey" on the front. There are 21 stripes on the jersey, representing the state's 21 counties. The Devils moved to New Jersey from Colorado in 1982.
Flyers: Travel to Las Vegas to face the Golden Knights on Friday in the second of a three-game trip.
Devils: Finish a three-game home stand on Friday against Nashville and former coach John Hynes.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated December 9, 2021