Rangers coach still figuring out where Pavel Buchnevich fits in

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It seems as if Rangers coach David Quinn wants at least one more game to look at Pavel Buchnevich on the left side, a place the winger previously had never played at any point in his career.

In doing so, Quinn seems as if he’s about to put Buchnevich with the 20-year-old rookie center who has been the team’s best skater through four games, Brett Howden, with Mats Zuccarello on the right side, for Saturday’s Garden matinee against the Oilers.

“He’s a guy with a bunch of talent,” Quinn said of the 23-year-old Buchnevich, “and we’re trying to get it all out of him. It might be a little bit of a process.”

Buchnevich is a lefty shot and had started the season on the right side of the presumptive top line with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad — the “KZB” line — but that group didn’t make it through the first weekend of the season. Instead, Jesper Fast moved up to that line on the right while Buchnevich began his experiment on the left, while Kreider went down with Howden and Zuccarello for Thursday’s 3-2 overtime win against the Sharks.

Yet it seems another small shift is coming for Saturday, with Kreider going back up with Zibanejad and Fast, while Howden takes Buchnevich on the left. It’s really a testament to how good Howden has been, as he carries a three-game points streak (two goals, one assist) into Saturday.

“He’s got a quick mind, a quick set of hands and quick feet, and they all work together,” Quinn said of Howden. “It’s a pretty good recipe for success.”


On the back end, in addition to Kevin Shattenkirk coming back to the lineup after a one-game scratch, it seems Neal Pionk will also join him after he sat Thursday against the Sharks.

Pionk spent Friday’s practice alongside Marc Staal, while Shattenkirk went with Brady Skjei. That kept the pair of Fredrik Claesson and Brendan Smith together.


Asked if he thought any more about his first NHL head-coaching win, Quinn made a joke about the two-faced game the Rangers played against the Sharks.

“The coach in me kicked in and I’m thinking about the last 25 minutes where I thought we did the things we need to do to have success,” he said, “and then I was thinking about the [first] 35 minutes, when I wanted to resign and go sell insurance.”

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