Richards Earns NHL Second Star
Following his best seven-day stretch of the season, Brad Richards was named the NHL's second star of the week after he posted four goals and three assists, as he seems to be peaking at just the right time.
Winnipeg's Andrew Ladd was the league's first star, while San Jose's Logan Couture was the third.
"These last few games, things have gone my way," Richards said after Sunday's game in which he had two assists in the team's 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. "Just keep plugging away at what we've been working on and hopefully I can keep helping the team out."
Two nights earlier, Richards scored his first career hat trick in the team's 8-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Prior to this week, the 32-year-old had just one point in his previous six games. The center, though, doesn't believe he's changed much in his own game, but that he's getting a bit of puck luck that wasn't there earlier in the year.
"[There's] nothing to pinpoint," Richards added. "My game hasn't been that much different where it's been night and day. Sometimes, when you get a little bounce here and there, you kind of take off and feel better about yourself, and that's it."
Richards' linemates have also benefited from sharing the ice with him. Winger Taylor Pyatt, who was recently penciled onto Richards' line along with Mats Zuccarello, has a goal and three points in his last three games. He had previously gone 24 games without a point. Zuccarello, who had two points in his first eight games of the season, has four points in his last four games as well.
"He's playing with a lot of confidence," Pyatt said after Sunday's game against the Devils, in which he scored his first goal since Feb. 26. "It's definitely nice to be playing on his wing, setting me up with a great pass there. I feel like our line has played pretty well the last couple games."
Rangers coach John Tortorella said after Thursday's game that despite Richards scoring late in a game that was already decided, a goal for any offensive player in a slump can get them going. He was right.
"When offensive guys get some goals and produce offensively, it's good for them" Tortorella said after
Friday night's game in Buffalo. "Hopefully this will keep on helping his confidence at an important time of the year and he keeps on going from there."
Like any superstitious athlete, Richards opted to downplay the success out of fear it could be gone as fast as it arrived. But, he did say there's no better time than now to consistently find his name on the scoresheet.
"I don't even really want to talk about it," he said. "I don't want to jinx it. If it's back now, it's a great time to have it."
What do you think of Richards' big week? Congratulate him in the comments below.