Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rangers Get Nash, Buchnevich Back, Leafs Get Win

The Rangers got healthier on Friday as they got Rick Nash and Pavel Buchnevich back for their original six battle with the Leafs at Madison Square Garden, but it was the Toronto Maple Leafs who came away with the 4-2 win.

William Nylander opened the scoring with his ninth goal, Mitch Marner potted two assists and Toronto killed all six penalties it took to improve to 19-13-8, just two points behind Ottawa for third in the Atlantic.

Toronto has the NHL's best penalty kill on the road at 90.5 percent, and they also have the NHL's best power play on the road. It's clicking at 30.3 percent, and was 2 for 4 on Friday in New York. The Leafs came out ornery after their five-day break and took a 2-0 lead into the dressing room after James van Riemsdyk's 15th of the season.

Toronto has now earned points in their last nine road games.

Nash had missed 11 games with a groin strain, while Buchnevich missed 26 games with a back injury. Injuries have mounted of late for the Rangers but they appear to be on the mend as Mika Zibanejad is also nearing return. He broke his leg in a scary collision on Nov. 20 and is already skating. He's likely to return in a week or two.

That's a lot of scoring coming back into the Rangers lineup, and they are already the NHL's highest-scoring team. Nash has 20 points in 30 games, Buchnevich had 8 points in 10 games and Zibanejad had 15 points in 19 games.

The Rangers lead the league with 146 goals, an average of 3.4 per game.