Sammy Blais dazzles for Rangers as they beat Devils 6-2; lose Ryan Reaves to injury

New York picks up costly preseason win.

By Forever Blueshirts
rangers capitals
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 28: Ryan Reaves #75 of the New York Rangers skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on September 28, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers put out their best lineup of the preseason and skated away with a pretty easy win against the New Jersey Devils. Unfortunately, the game was marred by Ryan Reaves going down early in the first period with an injury.

Let’s dive a bit deeper on the Rangers victory.

Recap: Rangers 6 vs Devils 2

The first period saw the Rangers come out physical and with speed. It was that uptempo style that led to a bang bang play by Adam Fox to Mika Zibanejad in front for a 1-0 lead at 3:23. K’Andre Miller came off the bench on a change and made a great pass to Fox to pick up the secondary assist.

At the 9:59 mark, PK Subban took Ryan Reaves to the boards and tripped him up. Reaves’ left leg got caught in a rut and bent awkwardly. The Blueshirts toughest player had to be helped off the ice ending his night. The Rangers announced it as a lower-body injury. Head coach Gerard Gallant said after the game it doesn’t seem too serious, called him day to day. More to follow.

The Devils started to come on strong midway through the period with Igor Shesterkin called upon to make several key saves. That included making a some clutch stops while killing off two penalties. When the period was done the Devils outshot the Rangers 13-6.

igor shesterkin
Apr 25, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers stops a shot in the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden on April 25, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Kreider started the second period by going after PK Subban for what they felt was a dirty play on Reaves. They both went off, but Kreider was given a 10 minute misconduct for dropping his gloves to get Subban to fight.

This seemed to spark the Rangers as they took it to the Devils in the early going with Sammy Blais getting some great chances that Jonathan Bernier stopped. Then Kaapo Kakko took over by jumping on a loose puck at his blueline. Kakko used his speed and strength to blow by none other than PK Subban for a breakaway goal and a 2-0 lead at 3:58.

New York continued to bring it drawing a 5-3 power play. It didn’t take long, as once again Fox looking one way found Zibanejad on the right post for a one-timer to make it 3-0.

The Devils broke through with their 18th shot on Shesterkin at the 9:57 mark. Andreas Johansson converted a nice play to make it 3-1. Things settled down after that, with both teams playing sloppy yet cautious. That’s before Sammy Blais took over.

Blais, intercepted a pass in the slot then danced his way around defenders and to the net to beat Bernier at 14:28. Then on the next shift, he deflected a Trouba shot that Barclay Goodrow cashed in the rebound for a 5-1 lead just 20 seconds later. By the time the period was over, the Blueshirts scored four goals on 15 shots.

The third period started just like the second with Kreider going after Subban again. This time, PK was a more willing participant as they both wrestled to the ground receiving penalties. Both teams kept up the pace with the Rangers having the edge.

Whenever there was a lapse on defense, Shesterkin was there to bail them out. The Blueshirts number 1 goalie was sharp all night tracking the puck and flashed his explosive pads on a few great saves too.

The two teams exchanged goals midway through the period. First it was Marian Studenic at 10:46, then Artemi Panarin answered right back with a snipe in front just 19 seconds later to make it 6-2 Rangers.

In the end, that would be the final score with Shesterkin finishing the night with 32 saves on 34 shots.

Notable Rangers

  • Sammy Blais was the Rangers best player hands down with 1G, 1A and 3 hits in 15:53 TOI
  • Miller and Trouba who were a -8 last game, combined for a +6 with an assist each
  • Adam Fox finished with 2 assists and a +1 in 20:57
  • Ryan Strome notched 2 assists with a +2 rating
  • Artemi Panarin led all NYR forwards in ice time with 19:12, he scored a goal and was +2
  • Barclay Goodrow was solid with a goal, +2 and 5 hits in 14:39

Tomorrow: Day off

Next Game: Saturday, Oct. 9 at New York Islanders – Bridgeport, CT (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network Plus, NHL Network)

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