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Rangers’ K’Andre Miller ends uneven night with go-ahead goal

After cycling the puck in the corner with the game tied at three-all in the third period, K’Andre Miller watched as Kaapo Kakko dished it out to Mika Zibanejad, who was covering for the defenseman at the top of the zone.

As Zibanejad wound up to unleash a shot, Miller went to screen Pyotr Kochetkov and ended up getting his stick on the puck to redirect it to the top shelf on Carolina’s goalie.

Miller’s goal was one of three that the Rangers scored in the final 20 minutes of their eventual 5-3 win over the Hurricanes on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

The game-winning goal capped a mixed bag of a night for Miller, who — along with his defensive partner Jacob Trouba — was also on the ice for all three of the Hurricanes’ goals.

Mika Zibanejad (right) congratulates K'Andre Miller on his go-ahead goal in the Rangers' 5-3 win over the Hurricanes.
Mika Zibanejad (right) congratulates K’Andre Miller on his go-ahead goal in the Rangers’ 5-3 win over the Hurricanes.
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“Obviously, you never want to go into a period minus-three, but that’s hockey, that happens sometimes,” Miller said after the win, which improved the Rangers to 21-12-6 on the season. “I think having a short memory and trying to put it in the past and look for good plays and being reliable again.”

The 22-year-old Miller, who was a forward in his earlier playing days, admitted it was weird to be the player tipping the puck in instead of his usual role of sending it into traffic. Nevertheless, the goal was Miller’s third of the season, all of which have come in the last 13 games.

“It was a big goal,” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “They were probably not too happy with being on for three goals, but I’m not blaming them for the three goals, it’s a five-man unit out there. They were unfortunate situations where the puck went in our net. It was a huge goal for K’Andre. I thought he made a couple of great offensive plays and played a good solid game again.”

With three goals in the third period Tuesday night, the Rangers have now totaled 52 in the final 20 minutes this season, which is the third-most in the NHL.

Igor Shesterkin earned the starting nod, marking his 29th start of the Rangers’ 39 games this season. After stopping 20 of the 23 shots he faced to pick up his 18th win of the season, the Russian netminder is now tied with the Golden Knights’ Logan Thomas and the Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck for the second-most in the NHL behind only the Bruins’ Linus Ullmark’s 21.

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