So there went Ryan Reaves off the ice at 10:01 of the first period, unable to put weight on his left leg, and supported on his way to the locker room by Sammy Blais and trainer Jim Ramsay following an awkward clicking of skates in the right wing corner with the Devils’ P.K. Subban.
And there, during the ensuing timeout, was Chris Kreider jawing at Subban in front of the bench. Then, off the opening draw of the second period, there was Kreider confronting Subban at his line, with the defenseman declining to engage. Then, off the opening draw of the third period, there was Subban tackling Kreider before the men wrestled to the ice.
“It was great to see that from Kreids,” Kevin Rooney said after the Rangers’ varsity laid a 6-2 whooping on the New Jersey JV. “We just went on a team bonding trip last weekend, and we’re going to be a team that sticks together this year no matter what happens.”
The severity of Reaves’ injury is as yet unknown, but coach Gerard Gallant did not seem unduly concerned about it after checking in with the training staff. Then again, there is some wait-and-see to this with the Rangers opening the season in Washington on Wednesday.
“Day-to-day, pretty much,” Gallant said. “I don’t think it’s [serious], not from the indications I’ve heard so far but we’ll know more [the next couple of days].”
Gallant absolved Subban of malicious intent but nevertheless understood and appreciated Kreider’s response, even if it kept No. 20 off the ice and in the box for 15:24 of the second period and another 5:00 in the third.
“I don’t think it was a vicious hit or a slew foot,” the coach said. “But you know, when you see a guy get hurt and guys step up and do a little bit of a response there, that’s what you want.”
Sammy Blais, who got 15:59 of ice time moving between units, had his second consecutive strong game, scoring the 4-1 goal late in the second period after picking off an attempted outlet pass, weaving through the zone and driving to the net from the right side.
“I’m getting a little more comfortable, the guys have been really, really nice with me,” said Blais, obtained from St. Louis in the Pavel Buchnevich deal. “It’s a little different from where I was before.”
“I’m really, really happy to be here. I think we can do a lot of damage here, and I’m really excited to be part of this group.”
Jarred Tinordi, who played the left side on the third pair with Nils Lundkvist, impressed Gallant. If Reaves is down for any length of time, that might prompt the coach to insert the pugnacious veteran into the lineup.
“He’s a big bodied guy who does his job,” Gallant said. “There’s nothing going to be fancy about Tinner, but obviously when Reavo went out, they know Tinordi is a presence out there.”
“Tinner’s game is to keep it simple and that’s what he does. He’s a good veteran, I had him years ago when I was an assistant in Montreal and he’s a great kid, a character kid. He’s a good teammate, for sure.”
Igor Shesterkin was sharp throughout in going the distance while stopping 21 of 23 shots. Alex Georgiev is scheduled to play the full match on Saturday in Bridgeport against the Islanders in the Blueshirts’ final preseason contest.
Mika Zibanejad, who scored twice, on being named to the Swedish Olympic Team: “A dream come true.”