Rangers Vs. Coyotes: Back In The Win Column

Rangers picked up a much needed win with great help from its “fourth line”.

  • It was against the Arizona Coyotes, a team still looking for its first win of the season, but boy does it feel good to win again and avoid another losing streak. The New York Rangers are now 3-6-2 on the year with eight points, which is only two points out of the final playoff spot. That is an important number to follow, as noted in a 30 Thoughts piece by Elliotte Friedman back in 2013.
  • The team played with some fire early on, and maybe part of that was due to the fact that Derek Stepan was back in the building for his first game since the trade to Arizona. The former Blueshirt received a nice tribute and ovation from the crowd during the first period to thank him for seven spectacular seasons./
  • This game was absolutely dominated by the fourth line of Michael Grabner (two goals), Boo Nieves (three assists) and Pavel Buchnevich(two goals), and it was easily one of the best games of Buchnevich’s young career./
  • Buchnevich finished the game with two goals, a 63.33 CF% (+8 overall), a 64.29% SF% (+4 overall), and the second lowest time on ice at 5v5. Nieves, who finished with three assists, accumulated the least amount of ice time among all skaters.
  • There is no rhyme or reason why Buchnevich wasn’t played more on Thursday night. He was an absolute beast making things happen, but Alain Vigneault was content keeping him on the fourth line. It may seem like something stupid to harp on, but there’s more to it than you think.
  • Humans respond to feedback, and sometimes a lack of feedback for something positive can be taken as a negative. Here we see Buchnevich playing extremely well and there was no reinforcement of this action in the form of increased ice time. /

Buchnevich Ice Time vs. Coyotes

  • Part of being a coach is managing how a player feels, and that involves a system of checks and balances in the virtue of rewards and punishments. This also helps develop them and reinforce positive behaviors and tactics. Vigneault has had no problem punishing Buchnevich in the past by virtue of benching and scratching, and Thursday was another situation in which the coach fell short in terms of consistency. It may seem meaningless, but something as simple as giving Buchnevich a chance to complete his hat trick with a two-goal lead in the final minute of the third period could go a long way.
  • It was good to see Kreider score again. His goal was assisted by Mats Zuccarello and Mika Zibanaejad, both of which had a strong game. Kreider has been pressing for sometime, and scoring for the second time in three games could put him in a situation to break out. He even showed some feistiness when dropping the gloves with Jason Demers./
  • Ondrej Pavelec looked good in his second start and he made 27 saves in the win. It is hard to fault him on the goals he gave up, as each was related in someway to Kevin Shattenkirk. It was a bit of a rough game for the Rangers’ newest defender who was caught in the middle during Anthony Duclair’s goal and took a penalty sticking up for Nieves and subsequently resulted in a goal by Clayton Keller./
  • Speaking of Keller, it was interesting to learn during the pregame that the Rangers were close to completing a deal for the Edmonton Oilers’ fourth overall pick at the 2016 draft. /
  • The Rangers will travel to Montreal for a game on Saturday and will look to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. Based on how poorly the Habs have played this year, there is a real possibility of the team picking up another “W”./

*A previous version of this article incorrectly said Ondrej Pavelec was making his first start. It has since been corrected.