by Patrick Hoffman on 02/10/12 at 11:49 AM ET
When the New York Rangers went out and signed high-priced free agent Brad Richards to a nine year deal during the off-season, it is games like last night that the Blueshirts had envisioned for him.
After Brian Boyle tied the game up at 3-3 in the third period, the Rangers’ assistant captain Richards scored the game winner in overtime off a great feed from Artem Anisimov to give his team a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. For Richards, it was his seventh game winning goal of the season, which is good for second in the NHL.
While Richards may not have the point totals that people expected (17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points), he has certainly come up big when the team has needed him the most. Everyone remembers the goal he scored at the buzzer to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes. Everyone also probably remembers the game tying goal he scored against the Anaheim Ducks over in Sweden at the beginning of the season.
Richards is keeping up his end of the bargain by coming through in the clutch, something he has done throughout his career. Hopefully, he will come up even bigger come playoff time.
This was a game in which the Rangers never quit. The club came back from two one goal leads including that third period tally from Boyle. Boyle is the perfect example of being in the right place at the right time and not being afraid to throw the puck on the net.
Despite allowing three goals, the Rangers also played well defensively. They blocked a lot of shots and were quick to get the puck out of the zone when the team was pinned deep in their own zone.
The Rangers cannot celebrate this victory too long as the club heads into Philadelphia for an afternoon tilt with the Flyers tomorrow. The Rangers are a perfect 4-0 against the Flyers this season and will be looking to make it five straight tomorrow afternoon.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.