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K'Andre Miller comes off COVID-19 list and returns to Rangers lineup

When he did his pregame media briefing Friday, Rangers coach David Quinn couldn’t confirm what his lineup would look like, because, the coach said, “We still got a couple things pending here, where we’ll know a clearer picture this afternoon what our lineup will look like.’’

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The “things pending’’ turned out to be that defenseman K’Andre Miller, who had missed Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia because he was placed on the Rangers’ COVID-19 list that day, came off the list and was inserted into the lineup.

Miller, the 21-year-old rookie who has been a revelation for the Blueshirts, had missed two games with an upper body injury before returning to action last week in the win over Washington.

Then he turned out to be a last-minute scratch against the Flyers. Players who are put on the COVID-19 list don’t necessarily have the virus. Sometimes they are deemed close contacts of someone who tested positive, or perhaps they are the victim of a false positive or inconclusive test.

Miller coming off the list left forward Kaapo Kakko as the only Ranger on the list as of Friday’s faceoff. Kakko, who also missed a game because he was on the list earlier this season, missed his third game since going on the list just before the game in Washington.

Miller had a goal and three assists in 14 games, and was tied for the team lead in plus/minus with Kevin Rooney at plus-5. He partnered with Brendan Smith on the second defense pair.

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Anthony Bitetto came out of the lineup to make room for Miller. Bitetto had played in nine straight games since taking the place in the lineup of Tony DeAngelo, who was waived and banished from the team Feb. 1. With Bitetto coming out of the lineup, Jack Johnson remained in, and partnered with Libor Hajek on the third defense pair.

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