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Sharks Locker Room: Blackwood Having Best Season for San Jose Goalie Since Nabokov



Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

Where would the San Jose Sharks be without Mackenzie Blackwood?

Worse, if that’s possible.

Behind Blackwood’s 35 saves, the worst team in the NHL snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 4-0 shutout over the St. Louis Blues.

Filip Zadina, Mikael Granlund, Luke Kunin, and Jan Rutta scored. But the story of the game was Blackwood, who made 11 saves, many high-danger, in the first period, to keep the game scoreless, and 21 saves in the final frame to close out the Blues.

“He was huge for us. The first period, especially. He kept us alive. When the goalie can do that, that gives a lot of energy for a team,” Granlund said. “And then we got better as the game went on.”

Blackwood has been winning games, seemingly by himself, all season. He’s got just 10 wins, a consequence of the team in front of him, but per SPORTLOGiQ, he’s got seven Steals, which is sixth in the league.

Steals are defined as when the number of goals a goalie saves above expected makes the difference in the outcome of the game.

Being around the top-five in the NHL in this category is impressive, considering that Blackwood missed more than three weeks of the season with a minor groin injury.

And seven Steals in just 10 wins? When Blackwood’s been good, he’s been incredible.

So good, in fact, that he’s tracking to have the second-best season by a San Jose Sharks starting goalie in more than a decade, per Evolving Hockey’s Goals Saved Above Expected. GSAx has been measured since 2007-08.

Despite Blackwood’s unsightly 10-21-3 record and unremarkable .900 Save %, his GSAx tells us he’s been making a lot of stops that he shouldn’t be making.

Evgeni Nabokov2009-107122.52
Mackenzie Blackwood2023-243910.73
Antti Niemi2012-13438.86
Martin Jones2016-17657.9
Martin Jones2017-18606.68
Martin Jones2015-16656.64
James Reimer2021-22484.95
Antti Niemi2010-11603.36
Aaron Dell2017-18291.14
Aaron Dell2019-20330.48
Antti Niemi2014-1561-1.56
Evgeni Nabokov2008-0962-1.63
Evgeni Nabokov2007-0877-2.85
Kaapo Kahkonen2023-2431-2.87
Antti Niemi2011-1268-4.45
James Reimer2022-2343-6.92
Martin Jones2019-2041-8.39
Antti Niemi2013-1464-9.14
Martin Jones2020-2134-12.83
Martin Jones2018-1962-17.22
Kaapo Kahkonen2022-2337-21.19

“This guy’s been everything for us,” San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn said. “He’s been outstanding all year long.”

David Quinn

Quinn, on the work that Blackwood put in to get back from his injury:

Listen, this guy’s been everything for us. He’s been outstanding all year long. We’re very surprised he doesn’t get talked about more. I know our situation and our record. But this guy has been an elite goalie all year long.

Not only that, he’s been an incredible teammate. As likable a guy as we’ve got. Not only likable, but he’s all in here. Just really happy for him. We’re very, very fortunate to have him.

Quinn, on Granlund hitting 50 points:

I was very surprised about some of the things that were being said about him. This guy has been a really good player for a long time in this league.

I’ve touched on this many, many times, he’s a unique player. Because not only is he a really elite player in this league, who can do everything. He may not be an elite player from an offensive standpoint, but this guy plays all three zones. [Competitive], intelligent player.

He’s an incredible teammate, great leader, and just happy that he’s getting rewarded statistically too.

Reaching the 50-point plateau, certainly under our circumstances, but following the season he had last year, I’m sure it feels really good for him.

Mackenzie Blackwood

Blackwood, on his equipment issue:

My suspender clip broke, so I just had to tape it up. Just a quick MacGyver fix on the go.

Blackwood, on how he wanted to come back from his recent groin injury for his teammates:

Obviously, I’m aware of the situation we’re in this year. It was hard because you don’t like watching the team lose.

I was pretty impressed with the way Magnus [Chrona] played as a rookie and Devin Cooley there. But obviously, you want to be in there, doing what you can for the team.

But at the end of the day too, just have to make sure that I rested up, made sure that the groin was good and healed and ready to go.

Luke Kunin

Kunin, on the amount of family that he has in the building:

My whole family’s here. Grandparents, friends, brother, parents, a lot of their friends as well. So I got a lot of people I gotta run and go see here.

Mikael Granlund

Granlund, on Blackwood’s performance:

He was huge for us. The first period, especially. He kept us alive. When the goalie can do that, that gives a lot of energy for a team. And then we got better as the game went on.


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