So it’s out of the lineup for Pavel Buchnevich Friday night against the Panthers, as expected, but the Russian rookie shouldn’t get used to sitting in the press box.
“He’s not playing tonight, but he is gonna play,” Alain Vigneault said after Friday’s morning skate. “He’s had some good games lately. There’s just that little inconsistency with a few plays that we need to be a little bit better. But he is gonna play. There’s a lot of hockey left and we’ve got a lot of faith in his skill level and the way he can play.”
When Buchnevich was scratched for four of six games in February he was briefly sent to AHL Hartford because, as Vigneault and Jeff Gorton said at the time, the 21-year-old “needs to play.” After one game with the Wolf Pack, in which he scored twice and earned an assist, Buchnevich was recalled on an emergency basis on March 1. He remained with the club after the emergency designation no longer applied, counting as one of the Rangers’ post-deadline recalls — of which each NHL club is allowed four through the end of the season — and he’ll continue to stay in the NHL. The team has one recall left after using others on Tanner Glass and Steven Kampfer.
The Rangers have 11 games remaining after Friday’s home match. They play at Minnesota on Saturday and have a back-to-back against the Devils and Islanders on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading out to California for a three-game road trip.
Including Friday, the Rangers had five games left at home, where they’d won 19 of 36 matches before hosting Florida. It has been difficult to figure why they’ve experienced funks at the Garden while owning the best road record in the league, but they have at times have had their speed game halted.
“It might just be coincidences here that we’re not finding ways to close it out at home,” Ryan McDonagh said. “I don’t think anybody can put a real finger on it. As a group we’re excited; we have good starts at home. You take that road mentality that we have about playing well and taking away the other team’s strengths on the road, that’s what teams have kind of done to us here as the games have progressed. We’ve got to fight through that and continue to find ways to create looks and create offensive-zone time and not settle for just defending a lot.”
“We need our top players to lead and play the way they’re supposed to,” Vigneault added, “and they’re supposed to do that at home.”
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Vigneault said it is “tough to say” if Magnus Hellberg, currently backing up Antti Raanta while Henrik Lundqvist is sidelined with a hip strain, is ready for an NHL start. “I’ve just seen him in practice,” the coach said. “At some point, logic would say he will get a game, depending on how quick Hank comes back.” Lundqvist was set to miss his fourth straight game Friday about a week into his two-to-three week timetable.
Published at Fri, 17 Mar 2017 20:03:46 +0000