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New Jersey wraps up Western Canada swing with stop in Vancouver

Skaters feel they owe strong performance as Blackwood is back in net

by Amanda Stein @amandacstein /

"That was Calgary, this is Vancouver."

That's how rookie goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood responds when asked about putting the Devils performance against the Flames behind him. Blackwood saw how the team responded against Edmonton with a 6-3 victory with Cory Schneider in net and is confident that more structured play will be in front of him tonight against the Vancouver Canucks.

"It's about putting things in perspective," Blackwood said. "It's one game. You just have to have a short-term memory as a goalie. That goes with good games as well, no matter how good a game you might have or as bad as it goes, you're only as good as your last game. I've got to put a good one in tonight and move past it."

The team in front of him are certainly committed to having a better performance than they displayed in Calgary when Blackwood was last in net.

"We certainly owe him one," Blake Coleman said. "We hung him out to dry, there's no other way around it. I think the commitment has to be there, as a group we have to be the hardest working group on the ice to win games and we know that. Guys will come ready to go tonight and have that effort."

"He played a really good game for us in Calgary," Damon Severson chimed in. "We had a lead going into the third period and then all of a sudden we gave up a crazy amount of odd-man rushes. And you can't expect your goalie to make a save when there's a two-on-one back door tap in. We didn't play for him in the third period and so tonight we've got to have a lot better 60-minute game and make sure we play solid in front of him and give him that confidence again going forward."

If anything, the game against Calgary gave the Devils coaching staff and management a really clear view of the type of goaltender and person the young 22-year-old goaltender is.

"If you're going to play in this league, you're going to have situations and nights where you've got to be able to battle through it," John Hynes said. "Sometimes as coaches and managers, you're looking at how your players respond in adverse situations. We really like the fact that in that game he went through, there was no body-language, he kept playing and kept competing and those are important things.

That's feedback you get as coaches and managers about your players and that's the type of kid that he is," Hynes continues. "It wasn't his night, it wasn't going well and we weren't very good in front of him, but there was no finger pointing there was no bad body language - he lined up, went back to the next play and now he's got a chance to respond tonight and our team has a chance to respond in front of him."

Friday night the Devils wrap up their Western Canada swing with their stop in Vancouver. Then, it's off to Colorado where they'll face the Avalanche on Sunday to wrap up a six-game road trip.

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