Oh, did that 4th line roll Thursday night against the Coyotes.
The line, consisting of Nieves, Pavel Buchnevich, and Michael Grabner, combined for four goals, as the Blueshirts beat Arizona, 5-2. Buchnevich and Grabner scored two goals apiece, and Nieves added three assists. Backup goalie Ondrej Pavelec notched his first win as a Ranger, making 27 saves.
Chris Kreider got New York on the board at the 8:01 mark of the 1st period, taking a no-look pass from Mats Zuccarello and beating Arizona goalie Adin Hill at 8:01. Then the 4th line started to roll. Buchnevich made it 2-0 at 15:57 of the 1st, with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle, off assists from Ryan McDonagh and Nieves.
In the 2nd, after former Ranger Anthony Duclair made it 2-1 at 5:13, Grabner answered 46 seconds later, off an assist by Nieves, to make it 3-1. And Buchnevich made it 4-1 at 13:56 with his 2nd goal of the game, again from Nieves.
Clayton Keller scored his 7th goal of the season with a power play goal at 3:52 of the 3rd the made it 4-2. But Grabner added an empty-netter with 36 seconds to play for the final 5-2 margin.
The game marked Rick Nash‘s 1,000th career NHL game. And also marked the return of Derek Stepan to The Garden; he received a long, rousing ovation following a video tribute in the 1st period.
The Rangers [now 3-6-2, 8 pts] have won 2 of their last 3 games, and play the Canadiens in Montreal Saturday night.