The Rangers could be getting back some major help sooner than they think.
Pavel Buchnevich, out since Nov. 10 with a broken thumb, was a full participant in Tuesday's practice in an encouraging sign that he could be nearing his return.
Head coach David Quinn sounded hopeful that the 23-year-old winger, who was projected to be out 4-6 weeks, could return in time for Saturday's game against the Florida Panthers -- which would be exactly four weeks since his injury.
"We need him," Quinn said, per the New York Post. "Those last three games he played before getting hurt were another level. We missed him."
The Rangers are currently in the midst of a three-game skid and have lost five of their last six games but have five days off between games and hope to rest and get healthy.
Before Buchnevich's injury, he had nine points (five goals, four assists) in 14 games including two goals in the three games prior to the injury
Mats Zuccarello, who has missed 11 of the last 13 games with a groin injury, was also on the ice Tuesday as was Vlad Namestnikov and Adam McQuaid.