NASHVILLE — The Rangers suffered another blow to their playoff hopes Friday when Pavel Buchnevich was diagnosed with a concussion. He is sidelined indefinitely.
The Russian forward was struck in the jaw on a mid-ice hit from Toronto’s Jeff Gardiner midway through the second period of the Rangers’ 4-0 loss Thursday night and did not return. Buchnevich, who has 13 goals and 19 assists in 50 games and was skating on the first line, received treatment Friday as part of the league’s concussion protocol. Gardiner was not penalized on the play.
With 32 points, including five power-play goals, the 22-year-old is tied with J.T. Miller for second on the team and had posted at least a point (2-4-6) in five of the last seven games. He had eight goals and 12 assists in 40 games as a rookie last season.
Jimmy Vesey skated in his spot during practice between Mika Zibanejad and Rick Nash. The Rangers are not expected to add a spare forward for road games against the Predators on Saturday night and the Stars on Monday.
“Right now we’re going with 12 healthy forwards and seven [defensemen],” coach Alain Vigneault said. “This is a great opportunity for a guy like Jimmy, who all year long has been begging for more ice time, and he’s getting a chance to play with Mika and Nasher. He’s gotta elevate his game. Everybody’s got to elevate their game. I believe there’s another level to get to with this group.”