Sammy Blais to return to NY Rangers lineup after healthy scratch

Sammy Blais will be back in the lineup for the New York Rangers against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

“There’ll be one change,” Gerard Gallant indicated this morning.

Although Gallant did not commit to who was coming out, USA Today’s Vince Mercogliano indicates Julien Gauthier is the likely scratch. Also based on the morning skate, it’s probable Jaroslav Halak will get the start.

Sammy Blais back in for NY Rangers

SAMMY BLAIS
Oct 2, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Rangers left wing Sammy Blais (91) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Blais, 26, is struggling this season with five assists in 27 games. Last season, the big-bodied forward showed some promise on the third line averaging 13:28 a night and registered four assists in 14 games before tearing his ACL causing him to miss the rest of the season.

Regulated to a fourth line role, Blais has seen his minutes drop down to around 9:56 per game. It also led to him being scratched in the Rangers 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

“It’s part of the game,” Blais told The Post after practice Friday in Tarrytown. “It’s happened to me before. Just got to stay positive and work hard. I knew this year was not going to be easy for me coming back from my injury. It happens to everyone. Just stay positive and be a good teammate and work hard. I’m sure I’ll be back in the lineup soon.”

NY Post

Blais signed a one-year deal this past offseason and will be a UFA next summer. Drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 6th round of the 2014 Draft, he’s never been projected to be anything more than a bottom six winger.

“Sammy has played fine,” Gallant said on Friday. “He’s frustrated because he has no goals but over the last number of games I thought his line has been fine.”

Here’s the projected lineup:

  • Panarin – Zibanejad – Goodrow
  • Kreider – Trocheck – Vesey
  • Lafrenière – Chytil – Kakko
  • Blais – Brodzinski – Kravtsov
  • Lindgren – Fox
  • Miller – Trouba
  • Harpur – Schneider
  • Halak
  • Shesterkin

If Halak does indeed get the start tonight in Philly, he goes into the matchup with a career mark of 11-7-3 against them. He also boasts a career GAA of 2.38 with a .916 save percentage.

On the season, Halak has just one victory (1-6-1) with an .888 SV% and a 3.04 GAA.

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