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Richards’ hot April is perfect timing

Photo: Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Kevin Hoffman, USA TODAY Sports

Brad Richards has been a bit of a disappointment this year. He hasn’t been consistent, and he hasn’t been that top line center and powerplay quarterback that the Rangers thought they were getting. That said, Richards has been getting hot at the right time, and his hat trick last night could be just the beginning of a strong run for the veteran center.

In ten games this April, Richards has been scoring at a point per game pace, with five goals and five assists. The points have come in bunches (eight were in three games, five in the past two games), but there’s more to this than the scoring. Richards is finally starting to do the little things, and his luck is beginning to change as he is starting to get those bounces he wasn’t getting earlier this season.

Last night’s hat trick is the perfect example of how Richards is doing the right thing and getting rewarded. On his first goal, the little thing that Richards did was throw the puck to the net. It was something he hadn’t done that much this season, as he was pressing too hard and trying to make a play. Sometimes the right play is get the puck to the net. He did on this goal, and it wound up going in the net. Little thing number one: Get the puck to the net.

On his second goal, he and Mats Zuccarello made great individual plays to keep the puck in the Sabres’ zone. Then he found some open ice behind Jhonas Enroth and attached a loose puck behind the netminder. Little things numbers two, three, and four: Keep the zone, find open ice, charge the net.

His third goal was a bit lucky, but it goes back to little thing number one: Get the puck to the net. You never know what is going to happen when you do.

Those three goals, and the ten points in ten games, has put Richards on pace for a 56-point season in a full year. That’s not what you’d expect from him, but it’s also a lot better than his previous pace. His three goals also put him on pace for a 20-goal season over 82 games.

If there’s one person the Rangers need to get hot heading into the playoff run, it’s Brad Richards. If he can get going, then the Rangers, with the way their current lineup is structured, have a very balanced top-nine that can provide scoring, grit, and defense. Without Richards, then the Rangers have maybe two lines that can produce.

Whether you love Richards or hate him, he’s an integral part of this club’s success for at least this season and next. If he gets hot, then the Rangers are a dangerous opponent in the playoffs.

12 Responses to “Richards’ hot April is perfect timing”

  1. George says:

    Hot April my ass. Play a real defense and then we’ll talk.

    • Dave says:

      Goal, 2 assists against the Penguins.

      • Rob says:

        It’s amazing how much heat this guy gets. I wonder if most Ranger fans would have the same sentiment if they actually watched this guy play throughout his whole career? So he had an off year on a half ass season, but you know what lucky or not, you can clearly see he’s getting better and better as each game goes on…GO BR!

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          I don’t give a rats ass about his career elsewhere.He’s old,overpaid and his Production has been steadly going down.Fools gold.If this was football he would have been cut.His contract will lead to other wanting to B.RICH aka Clowe etc.

    • Jim says:

      keep watching the ghetto devils were supposed to be a real defense they got spanked to LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!

  2. Walt says:

    Well stated Harlemblues, he’s getting old. Yes he got a hat trick, but come on now, he got assy with a couple of the goals.

    Look, I root for him, he wears our uniform, but don’t give me this nonsense, he is a shell of what he was even as long ago as last season.

    If Torts is smart, he would move Kreider to the 3rd line, with Richards, giving both players a chance to prove they can score. Pyatt is like a diesel truck, slow as sh*t, and with cast iron hands. At least start Kreider, and then if we get to where we are protecting a lead, and Tort’s feel uncomfortable with the kid, then you bring in the tracter trailer to replace him!!!!!

    • Rob says:

      Alex Ovenchicken was a shell of himself too early on this season and look at him now.

    • VinceR says:

      Yup, so regressing to mean as expected, but haters gonna hate. Usual suspects.

      • Walt says:

        Your an idiot, I stated on many occasions that I don’t hate the man at all, what part of that don’t you understand???

        • VinceR says:

          I never specified you (it’s an expression), but if you meant “you’re” an idiot, fine. Thank you for the kind words Walt.

  3. Jim says:

    everyone wants to point fingers hockey is the toughest sport out there and until you get on the ice and play a few shifts dont comment about peoples performance Richards has made some bad passes this year but he has been playing and getting better and weather the puck bounces in off someone else or it goes straight in thats the game doesnt matter how it gets in as long aS IT GETS IN