Strange game, hockey. Strange game here Wednesday night.

For here were the Rangers, who had been piling up chances and shots in one match after another with only a measly 2.0 goals-per-game to show for it, somehow scoring five times against the Panthers to win 5-2 despite a ragged, mistake-strewn performance in which they were outshot 33-22.

“Weird game,” said Rick Nash, who beat Tim Thomas from the high slot early in the third for a 3-0 lead. “I guess that’s the way it works right now.”

Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding in saving the 13-12 Blueshirts from themselves most of the night to record just his second victory in his last six starts. It represented a bounce-back performance for The King, who was pulled Monday night in Tampa Bay after surrendering four goals through two periods in the 5-0 defeat.

“It’s what I expected from him,” said coach Alain Vigneault, who named Lundqvist his starter for Friday’s match in Boston. “He’s a world-class goaltender who is strong mentally.”

If Lundqvist’s effort could have been expected, the same could not have been said for the five-goal outburst that followed a stretch in which the Rangers had scored a total of nine goals in seven games.

“Hank made big saves early that allowed us to settle down, and that was key,” said Marc Staal. “I can’t speak too much from personal experience, but when guys score goals it can relax you, make you more confident and make the game come a little easier.”

The power play, moribund over the last seven matches (3-for-26), struck twice, first for a 1-0 lead at 12:13 of the first period on Derek Brassard’s lovely deflection, then for a 4-2 lead with 1:28 remaining in regulation when Mats Zuccarello finished from in front after the Puddy Tats had pulled within one by scoring twice within a span of 3:49 late in the third.

“I knew what one goal could do for our team, how much confidence it would bring to the group,” Lundqvist said. “It gives you a lot of energy.”

The one goal may have given the Rangers energy, but it sure didn’t translate into a sharp performance. The Blueshirts were regularly pinned in their own end for shifts at a time. They consistently turned over the puck in dangerous areas of the ice and yielded glorious chances in front.

“There’s an old saying in hockey that you don’t critique a win and I’m not going to start tonight,” Vigneault said. “I wouldn’t say it was one of our best games but at the end of the day we found a way to win.

“Compared to some other games, when [the Panthers] made mistakes, we were able to make them pay for it, which you have to do.”