Mackenzie Blackwood had a San Jose Sharks debut for the ages.
According to the NHL, Blackwood’s “51 saves were the most by a goaltender in their debut with a team since 1955-56.”
However, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t follow through on their netminder’s masterpiece, blowing a one-goal lead late, then failing to capitalize on a 4-on-3 overtime power play. They would drop a 2-1 shootout decision to the Colorado Avalanche.
But the soft-spoken Blackwood was all the talk post-game.
“Without question,” head coach David Quinn said, when asked if this was one of the best goaltending performances that he’s ever coached. “He was an A+.”
Quinn is entering his third decade behind the bench, and his fifth as an NHL head coach.
“When he plays his best, he’s one of the best goalies in the league,” Fabian Zetterlund, who played with Blackwood on the New Jersey Devils from 2021 to 2023, said.
It was, at least, a night to remember for San Jose Sharks fans, who haven’t had a lot to cheer from their goalies during this four-years-and-running streak out of the playoffs.
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) October 15, 2023
It was also a night to remember for Thomas Bordeleau, who scored his first NHL goal.
Quinn spoke after the game, full of praise for Blackwood, Zetterlund, Bordeleau, Nikolai Knyzhov, and William Eklund’s performances.
Blackwood, coming off two injury-plagued campaigns, talked about how rewarding it was to have his hard work pay off.
Bordeleau broke down his first NHL goal.
Zetterlund has seen this before from ex-New Jersey Devils teammate Blackwood.
David Quinn, on Mackenzie Blackwood’s performance:
Outstanding. What more is there to say about it? So big, so calm, it was just an elite performance.
Quinn, on if this was one of the best goaltending performances that he’s ever coached:
Yes. Without question. He was an A+.
Quinn, on William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau:
The line was good. I thought they played well.
Those two guys in particular, I liked a lot about their game, their intentions were in the right place, that’s for sure.
Quinn, on if he plans on keeping the top San Jose Sharks prospects on the same line:
Yeah, I do. I’ll let you know after I watch the film. As I stand here today, yes.
Quinn, on Fabian Zetterlund:
Just another good game for him. He’s really playing well. I like his honesty. I like his smarts.
Quinn, on Nikolai Knyzhov:
I thought he was good. I really liked his game. I thought he skated well. I thought he made good plays. Protected the middle of the rink well. Defended hard.
Blackwood, on how rewarding it is to have a game like this after working hard to come back after a couple injury-plagued years:
Sometimes, you can do all those things and not get rewarded for it. But eventually, if you keep doing the right stuff, then eventually it’ll turn. It’s nice to see some positive results go my way after working pretty hard there.
I felt I felt good, my body feels good. I’m happy with the work I’m putting in with the goalie coach. Looking forward to continuing that.
Thomas Bordeleau, on his first goal:
Right place, right time. Just got a shot from [Matt Benning] and I kind of just tried to get a stick on it.
Bordeleau, on getting the goal monkey off his back:
It felt good. I never really felt the pressure to score. I was kind of concentrating on other stuff. Obviously, getting some goals here and there is fun, but I think I just need to grow my game beyond that a little bit. I was happy. It’s definitely a pressure kind of coming off your shoulder. I wish we could have had the win, it would have felt better.
Fabian Zetterlund, on Blackwood’s performance:
I’m not surprised. When he plays his best, he’s one of the best goalies in the league. He showed that tonight.
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