Rangers Practice Report; Nash and Buchnevich to play tomorrow night, Zibanejad very close to return

Bobby Bevilacqua


The Rangers got some fantastic news today regarding their injured players, and the team will get both Rick Nash and Pavel Buchnevich back in their lineup for tomorrow night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Buchnevich was recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack this afternoon after a brief stint for conditioning and to get him playing some games during the bye week. Buchnevich played in three games and recorded a goal and an assist as well as a plus-one rating. In 10 games with the Rangers this season, he’s scored four goals and four assists with a plus-four rating. He posted a four game goal streak stretching from Nov. 5-Nov. 12 before he was sidelined with back spasms.

Rick Nash has been out with a groin injury which came after re-aggravating a previous groin injury. Nash told reporters that there is no lingering pain in the groin like there was the first time he injured it. And while the rehab did not change from the first time, he did give the injury more time to heal.

“[The injury] came at a tough time,” Nash told Matt Calamia of NYRangers.com after practice today. “The first one I was feeling great. I felt like I had momentum and playing my game. I come back and have a couple good games and then it just keeps slowing me down. I know when you come back from injuries it’ll take a few games to feel like yourself again. It’s going to be a battle. I’m going to have to work hard at it.”

Nash has been playing well all season, recording 13 goals and 20 points in 30 games, and helping change the dynamic on lines with players like Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Vesey. His strong two-way game and scoring will help reinstate that dynamic scoring depth the Rangers showed at the beginning of the season.

Mika Zibanejad also returned to the ice in a normal jersey for the first time since breaking his fibula on Nov. 20. He participated in the full practice, but will not return to the lineup just yet. Vigneault said that because he has little practice time, he will not play just yet. Zibanejad will skate tomorrow and practice again on Monday.

In other news, Nick Holden missed practice with a personal day, Jesper Fast was sidelined with the flu, and Marc Staal is still out with the reported post-concussion syndromes. Holden is expected to play while Fast was “really under the weather” and his status will be judged tomorrow. Staal is now going through the concussion protocol.

With Nash and Buchnevich coming back for tomorrow, the Rangers will be almost entirely back to a potent three-line offensive attack. Nash gives them back one of the league’s better three zone players and arguably their best offensive player. He’s capable of singlehandedly taking over a game and will be a threat at all three strengths.

While we haven’t seen much of Buchnevich, when he has played he has shown that he can be a pretty effective playmaker. He showcased some sweet passing skills, puckhandling ability and a good shot, so he will be a boost to the top nine for sure, and maybe even the top six.

No lineups were announced, but here is how I would structure them.

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello

Rick Nash-Kevin Hayes-JT Miller

Jimmy Vesey-Oscar Lindberg-Pavel Buchnevich

Michael Grabner-Marek Hrivik-Brandon Pirri

Ryan McDonagh-Brady Skjei

Nick Holden-Dan Girardi

Adam Clendening-Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Posted on January 13, 2017, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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