BOSTON (AP) — Mackenzie Blackwood hardly looked like a rookie in net for New Jersey.
Blackwood stopped 40 shots for his first NHL victory, Blake Coleman scored twice and the Devils beat the Boston Bruins 5-2 on Thursday night.
Blackwood had plenty of help, even with leading scorer Taylor Hall out of the lineup, as the Devils took the lead 25 seconds into the game on a goal by Damon Severson.
“The team played awesome for me — really made my job a lot easier,” said Blackwood, who was making his second career start and playing in his fourth NHL game.
Kyle Palmieri added his team-high 19th goal for the Devils, who won on the road for just the fourth time this season.
Nico Hirschier had a goal and an assist and Andy Greene had a pair of assists as New Jersey got its first win in Boston in five years.
“We did a good job for the most part playing with the lead and I thought we were pretty consistent throughout the game,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “It was nice to see Blackwood get his first win.”
Hynes said Blackwood, who’s 6-foot-4, covers a lot of area and has shown tremendous composure in his limited duty.
“Now you have a big mountain of a man who’s in the net and has great athleticism but also plays with poise and is in good position. That’s tough to beat,” Hynes said.
Patrice Bergeron and Chris Wagner scored for Boston, and Jaroslav Halak had 28 saves.
Severson’s early goal on a wrist shot from the right circle gave Blackwood a lead the Devils never relinquished.
“Obviously we didn’t want to start the way we started, giving up a goal in the first minute of the game,” Halak said. “It’s always hard to keep the focus after that.”
Hall, who has 11 goals and 26 assists, was out with a lower-body injury and did not make the trip. The Devils were outshot 42-33 but adjusted to his absence.
The Bruins had their biggest advantage in the second period with 19 shots to New Jersey’s nine, but only Wagner got one past Blackwood — a one-timer 15:07 into the period to pull Boston within 2-1.
“When they had some pushes, he made some big saves so it was great to see,” Hynes said.
Coleman got the two-goal lead back for the Devils after he blocked a slap shot by Torey Krug at the blue line and outraced Brandon Carlo to the rebound for a breakaway, getting Halak with a backhand 4:15 into the third.
Hischier scored 12:43 into the third and Coleman scored into an empty net with 46 seconds remaining.
“We just need to learn from this one,” Halak said. “We kind of kept chasing the game and when you’re doing that, it’s usually losing hockey.”
The Devils went up 2-0 with 4:35 left in the first on a power-play goal by Palmieri, whose slap shot from the right point bounced off Halak and hit Carlo, then bounced back over Halak into the net.
NOTES: Blackwood was called up from AHL Binghamton on Dec. 17 after starter Cory Schneider went on injured reserve with an abdominal strain. … Boston captain Zdeno Chara returned after missing 19 games with an MCL injury in his left knee. … D Kevan Miller returned after 13 games with cartilage injury to his larynx suffered Nov. 26 in Toronto. … LW Jake DeBrusk had been out with a concussion and played for the first time since Dec. 6.
Devils: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
Bruins: Visit the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
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