The Calgary Flames welcome the New Jersey Devils to Western Canada on Thursday night at the Saddledome. This is the third stop in a five-game road trip for the Devils. It started in Raleigh this past Saturday and will end in Vancouver against the Canucks on Sunday. They’re coming off a 2-1 loss against the Jets in a shootout Tuesday night. Connor Hellebuyck won the duel against MacKenzie Blackwood, as the Devils finally got a standout goaltending performance.
It only resulted in a point, but it could be a confidence builder for Blackwood. The Devils have been struggling to find consistency between Blackwood and Cory Schneider this season. They’ve wanted to ride with the hot hand, but no one has been able to get too hot yet. Perhaps Blackwood can change the narrative and parlay his last outing into something to build on.
Blackwood is currently listed as the probable starter to play tonight against the Flames in Calgary. Benching him after that performance against the Jets would be foolish, but the Devils have appeared hellbent on making Schneider work. They’ve given him a lot of chances, including last season when he was playing poorly between the pipes. Blackwood has made eight starts as opposed to Schneider’s five, so the Devils’ brass might be finally getting impatient with the veteran.
As a team, the Devils have been a major disappointment at 4-5-4. A lot was expected out of this group after they made a splash with the signing of P.K. Subban, and there is still time to impress, but they’ve fallen short thus far. With a win tonight, the Devils can put a three-game win streak on paper in Calgary. Head below for our free Devils vs. Flames pick.
N.J. Devils vs. Calgary Flames Pick
The Devils most recent trip to Calgary didn’t go according to plan. They were smacked by a score of 9-4, as the defence had a complete meltdown. Defensive issues have plagued the Devils this season, but they haven’t given up that many goals in a game, at least not yet. The Flames scored 9 goals on 39 shots against Blackwood, as he stayed in net for every goal.
He ended the night with a 0.769 save percentage in what was a disaster for the Devils. They did score 4 goals on 26 shots against David Rittich, so the offence was looking to play, though. Rittich didn’t have a sharp evening either, as he finished with a 0.846 save percentage.
In two outings against the Flames, Blackwood has boated some really shaky numbers. He enters Thursday night with a 5.62 GAA and 0.851 save percentage. Blackwood has allowed 11 goals on 74 shots against the Flames. Throughout the duration of his young career, he’s also struggled to find consistency on the road.
While he’s been fairly reliable at home, Blackwood does get out of focus as a visiting netminder. He owns a 3.14 GAA and 0.908 save percentage on the road as opposed to a 2.29 GAA and 0.914 save percentage at home. The Devils have been bad as a collective unit on the road this season. They’ve gotten hammered for 3.6 goals against per game. That likely isn’t going to work for them against the Flames in this one.
While New Jersey have struggled defensively, the Flames have found their stroke at the Saddledome on offence. They have notched 3.71 goals per game, while allowing 3.09 goals per game. Don’t expect a 13-goal like their most recent meeting in March, but there should be enough scoring chances to put more than 6 pucks in the back of the net tonight. That gives us a solid pick on the OVER between the Devils and Flames in Calgary on Thursday.