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Rangers' Pavel Buchnevich finally breaks goal drought

Rangers' Marc Staal, left, hugs Pavel Buchnevich after

Rangers' Marc Staal, left, hugs Pavel Buchnevich after Buchnevich scored during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, in New York.  Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

Pavel Buchnevich had gone nine straight games without a goal or an assist, and he vented his frustration on Thursday when he told Newsday that he just needed one goal to go in for him and that would turn everything around.

The Russian winger got that one goal against the Leafs on Friday which tied the game at 3-3 in the second period, and also got an assist on Ryan Strome’s goal that had earlier tied it at 2-2 in the second period.

“The last, you know, four or five periods, he’s played have been probably his best hockey so far,’’ Rangers coach David Quinn had said of Buchnevich before the game. “So you know if he can continue to do those things, he’s going to get rewarded eventually.’’

Quinn mum on goalies

Quinn usually doesn’t mind revealing his goaltending plans when asked, but the coach stopped himself from disclosing how he will handle the back-to-back games to close out the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule Sunday and Monday.

“They will — ah, I don’t want to commit to you about it,’’ Quinn said with a grin when asked about his goalie rotation in his pregame media briefing.

He probably was going to say that Alexandar Georgiev, who started against the Maple Leafs, and Henrik Lundqvist, who backed up, will split the two games, but decided to hold off on the announcement.

Give’m a break

Quinn said the upcoming Christmas break, which begins Dec. 24, will benefit the entire team, young and old alike.

“It has been a funny schedule,” he said. “The moment you play three games in 17 days at the start the season, you’re going to pay the fiddler somewhere down the line. And, you know, we’ve paid it a little bit lately. But that being said, whether you’re 18 or 30, having three days off in December is a pretty good feel.’’

Blue notes

Mika Zibanejad’s assist on Brady Skjei’s first-period goal was his 100th as a Ranger… Brett Howden appeared in his 100th NHL game for the Rangers… Micheal Haley was the lone healthy scratch.

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