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Russian prospect Pavel Buchnevich could return after ‘bye’ week

Pavel Buchnevich of the New York Rangers skates against

Pavel Buchnevich of the New York Rangers skates against the Calgary Flames on Nov. 12, 2016. Credit: NHLI via Getty Images / Gerry Thomas

COLUMBUS, Ohio — By the time the Rangers are done with what players are calling the “bye” week, it might be time to say hello again to Pavel Buchnevich. The league-mandated five-day hiatus (the Rangers don’t play again until Friday) figures to be a chance for healing and recovery for players who are close to returning. Buchnevich tops that list.

The promising 21-year-old forward from Russia did make his return to action Friday night for AHL Hartford. He scored a goal and had no setbacks from his back and disc problems, according to Rangers coach Alain Vig neault. “Everything went well. The feedback was that he played a good game, felt no pain,” he said, adding that Buchnevich was scheduled to sit out Saturday night. “They didn’t want him to play back-to-back,” Vig neault said. Buchnevich is expected to play Sunday night.

The Rangers were encouraged by his four goals and four assists in 10 games before he was injured Nov. 12.

Forward Mika Zibanejad (broken leg) could practice with the Rangers when they return Thursday. He and Rick Nash (groin) will skate at the team’s practice facility this week, Vigneault said.

Blue notes

Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson said he benefited from his summer workouts with several Rangers, including Marc Staal (who was out again Saturday night with an upper-body injury) and Chris Kreider. The practices clearly helped the latter, too.

“He’s having a great year,” Atkinson said of Kreider after Columbus’ morning skate. “I keep in touch with him as much as I can. He has been playing well. He’s on a pretty good line. That line has been going for them. It’s good to see. Obviously, he has always put up pretty good numbers, but this year it seems he has really taken off. It’s good for him. I told him last night to slow it down for a night.”

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