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Buchnevich Impressive in Preseason Loss to Flyers

Rookie scores a goal and adds an assist

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

Rookie Pavel Buchnevich saved his best performance for last Thursday, scoring a goal and adding an assist in the Rangers' 4-2 defeat against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden in the preseason finale.

The 2013 third-round pick opened the scoring in the first period and had the primary assist on Chris Kreider's tally in the second to finish wtih three points in four preseason games.

Video: PHI@NYR: Kreider beats Neuvirth top-shelf

The Rangers' top line of Buchnevich, Kreider and Mika Zibanejad displayed the dazzling skill head coach Alain Vigneault had hoped for when he put the trio together early in training camp.

On the first goal, Kreider carried the puck over the Flyers' blueline, fed Zibanejad, who then gave a backhand pass to defenseman Dan Girardi at the blueline. Girardi fired a low wrist shot that Buchnevich deflected at the hashmarks through Michal Neuvirth for his first goal of the preseason.

The lead was short-lived, though, as Mark Streit scored just 27 seconds later to tie the game at a goal a piece.

The score would stay that way until the Zibanejad line struck again midway through the second period. Girardi sent a puck up the boards from his own zone, which Buchnevich scooped up just outside Philadelphia's zone. The 21-year-old shoveled a pass to Kreider, who broke in down the wing and fired a wrist shot top-shelf over Neuvirth to put the Rangers ahead, 2-1. It was Kreider's third goal of the preseason.

"I liked Mika's line again tonight," Vigneault said after the game. "I thought Buch was good and Kreids. There were some positives."

But penalties hurt the Rangers in the opening minutes of the third period. First, Nathan Gerbe was called for slashing, and the Flyers capitalized on a goal by Sean Couturier just as the penalty expired.

Moments later, Zibanejad was whistled for tripping and the Flyers grabbed the lead on a power play goal by Jakob Voracek to quickly turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal advantage.

The Flyers would add a goal by Travis Konecny at 10:54 of the third period to take a 4-2 lead.

"I think it was a pretty challenging game," said Lundqvist, who played all 60 minutes and finished with 27 saves. "They had a pretty good lineup and it felt like their power play got their energy and momentum throughout the game. That's where they really got their game going, but overall it was a good test for us trying to get back on our game again. For two periods it was pretty good, then their power play kind of won it for them there in the third."

With the preseason in the books, the Rangers now must make at least six more cuts to its roster to get down to 23 players - or below - for opening night a week from tonight against the Islanders at Madison Square Garden. As it stands now, New York has 18 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders remaining in camp.

"Obviously we're going to talk, coaches and management," Vigneault said. "Share our opinions on where certain guys are and what we feel are the players that give us a really good opportunity to start the season off well."

Prior to the game, Jimmy Vesey was awarded the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award as the top rookie in training camp.

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