Blackwood out 3-6 weeks for Devils with sprained MCL

Blackwood out 3-6 weeks for Devils with sprained MCL

Mackenzie Blackwood i Ondrej Palat each will be out long term for the New Jersey Devils.

Blackwood, a goaltender, will be out 3-6 weeks with a sprained MCL. He was injured in the second period after allowing two goals on 18 shots against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 3. Vitek Vanecek made 18 saves in relief in a 4-3 win.

Vanecek will make his second straight start when the Devils host the Calgary Flames on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSGSN, SNW, ESPN+, SN NOW). Akira Schmidtrecalled Saturday from Utica of the American Hockey League, is expected to be the replacement.

porter Jonathan Bernier (hip) has not played this season and remains on injured reserve.

“Bernier continues to progress, but he’s not ready to play right now, so right now our second goaltender would be Akira Schmid,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said.

Blackwood played in 25 games (24 starts) last season because of a recurring left heel injury. He is 4-2-0 with a 2.79 goals-against average and .880 save percentage through seven games this season. Vanecek, acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals on July 8, is 5-1-0 with a 2.21 GAA and .908 save percentage in seven games (five starts).

New Jersey (9-3-0) has won six straight games for the first time since March 27-April 7, 2012.

Palat, a forward, will be out 8-10 weeks. He had groin surgery on Nov. 1 and was told he would be out indefinitely. He has missed the last six games and has three goals in six games.

“He’s 8-10 weeks old, but I think if you saw him in the gym, he’d argue with that statement and look at me like I’m crazy, but that’s where he’s at,” Ruff said. “So hopefully he can pull it off.”

Palat is in the first season of a five-year, $30 million (average annual value of $6 million) contract he signed on July 14 after playing his first 10 seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has 426 points (146 goals, 280 assists) in 634 games and helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021 and reach the Cup Final last season.

“Here’s a guy who’s won a couple of Stanley Cups and almost won a third, and even though he’s been out for a period of time, he was back in the gym within days, saying to everybody else that when I get back here I’ll be ready and ready to make a difference and in the meantime, other players have stepped in and he’s on his side,” Ruff said. “I’m pretty sure he’s giving advice and giving advice to (forward Fabian) Zetterlund and (defenseman Kevin) Bahl.”

NHL.com staff writer Mike G. Morreale contributed to this report

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