Rangers left wing Pavel Buchnevich checks Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes...

Rangers left wing Pavel Buchnevich checks Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes against the boards in the third period on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Credit: AP/Kathy Willens

Pavel Buchnevich started the season as the right wing on the Rangers’ first line, with Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. That lasted four games before coach David Quinn dropped Buchnevich to the second line for Friday night’s game in Washington and promoted Chris Kreider to the top line in an effort to get him going.

Buchnevich was on the third line at the start of Sunday’s game against the Canucks, and by the end of the first period, he had dropped to the fourth line. Quinn put him back on the third line late in the second period, and Buchnevich was on that line when Jesper Fast tipped in Jacob Trouba’s shot for the Rangers’ first goal in a 3-2 loss to the Canucks.

Buchnevich finished the game on the third line and was one of the Rangers’ better players at the end.

“I thought he got out of the gate slowly,’’ Quinn said. “I thought he struggled early on, so I made some changes. And probably because of penalty situations, I ended up putting him out there [with the third line], and he looked like he had a little bit more energy. So I put him back on the spot that he started, and I thought he had a good last 25, 30 minutes.’’

Quinn also benched defenseman Brady Skjei for a significant chunk of the second period.  “We’re looking for more out of him,’’ Quinn said. “He’s got to play better, he’s got to be more consistent.’’

Notes & quotes: While Quinn moved people around within the lineup, he kept the same game roster as Friday, meaning Greg McKegg was the lone scratch. He did change up his defense pairs, though, putting rookie Adam Fox on the top pair with Marc Staal and putting Skjei on a third pair with Tony DeAngelo . . . The Rangers will play the second game of a five-game homestand Tuesday against Arizona.

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