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Defense picks up the scoring for Rangers

New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller against the

New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. Credit: Noah K. Murray

Three of the five goals the Rangers scored in their 5-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night were by defensemen, including the game-winner by Ryan Lindgren, which officially was put in with seven-tenths of a second remaining in regulation.

Lindgren, Jacob Trouba and K’Andre Miller each scored his second goal of the season in the game. Trouba and Miller scored in a six-goal second period, with Trouba’s goal tying the score at 2-2 and Miller’s making it 4-4. That capped an 82-second span in which the Rangers and Sabres totaled four goals.

"I guess we talked about getting more pucks to the net from the blue line,’’ Trouba said when asked what it signified to have that many goals scored by defensemen not named Adam Fox. "That’s not really how two of them went in, I guess, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to get pucks [on net], and that’s kind of how they all end up going in.’’

Trouba’s goal came on a delayed penalty; with the Rangers enjoying a six-on-five skater advantage, he dropped down to the slot area to fish around for loose pucks. He jammed in the rebound of a shot by Artemi Panarin (three assists).

Lindgren’s goal came when he drove to the back post as the clock ticked down and tapped in a feed from Mika Zibanejad.

Miller’s goal was a wrist shot from the left point that made its way through traffic and beat goalie Aaron Dell, who was screened.

"That’s how you score goals in the NHL,’’ Trouba said of Miller’s goal. "Everybody wants to make the pretty plays, but a goal’s a goal, and that’s how a lot of them go in in this league.’’

The fact that the Rangers found a way to win a game that Lindgren said was "not our cleanest’’ speaks well of the team’s character, he said.

After a second period in which the Rangers were a little careless with the puck, they were able to tighten things up in the third period, allowing the Sabres only four shots on goal.

"I thought we played the right way that whole third period,’’ said Lindgren, who was a left wing in his youth hockey days. "We kept our foot on the gas and just made smart plays, just kept going at ’em and kept getting pucks in. And so that was great to see, and we’ve got to play that way moving forward."

Hunt moved up

Coach Gerard Gallant moved fourth-liner Dryden Hunt up to the first line with Zibanejad and Chris Kreider in the second period Sunday and indicated afterward that he might try that again.

"I don’t know what we’re going to do next game, but I definitely like it, and we — the coaches — talked about it,’’ Gallant said. "Huntsie’s been a good player for us right from the get-go . . . He’s played on the fourth line and played a little bit different role, but I like what he brings. He’s got some offensive touch and he can really shoot a puck. So it could be a possibility for sure."

New York Sports