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SLY WILLIAMS
03-03-2013, 01:26 PM
John Tortorella’s pairing of Richards with Hagelin the past two games — and with Nash in his return from injury on Thursday — has gone swimmingly entering the third of a four-game Rangers home stand Sunday night against the Sabres.


By Pat Leonard / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, March 2, 2013, 11:41 PM

Brad Richards may have taken a much larger step forward in Thursday’s third period than his one assist indicated, receiving the puck from Ryan McDonagh, crossing the blue line and then feathering a pass to Rick Nash for the final goal of a 4-1 win over the Lightning at the Garden.

“A week ago, I can’t make that pass,” Richards told the Daily News after Saturday’s practice in Greenburgh. “Somehow I mess that up.”

But the 32-year-old center — signed through the 2018-19 season and struggling to validate that contract this season with production — felt the puck on his stick playing with the team’s top forward, Nash, to his right side and the Rangers’ hottest goal scorer, Carl Hagelin, to his left. That led to Richards’ second assist in two games after going three straight without a point.

“It definitely helps, when you’re trying to find your game, to play with players who are on their game,” said Richards, who also won 17 of 20 faceoffs Thursday night. “It can drag you into that situation. . . . It’s a good opportunity for me, to have to match that pace that Hags is playing at. I could feel it from him in the Winnipeg game (a 4-3 loss Tuesday at the Garden). He gets pucks, and then gets it to me. And when I have the puck on my stick more, I start to feel better.

“It’s sink or swim playing (with Hagelin and Nash) at that pace. If you can’t keep up, you’ll get exposed pretty quick.”

In that case, John Tortorella’s pairing of Richards with Hagelin the past two games — and with Nash in his return from injury on Thursday — has gone swimmingly entering the third of a four-game Rangers home stand Sunday night against the Sabres.

Richards still has no goals in the past 14 games and just two on the season, but the Rangers (9-8-2) need him to snap back into form as a playmaker for this grueling stretch of five games in eight days.

“You could see him skating, he made a lot of plays with the puck, had confidence to turn up in the end zone and look for late people,” Tortorella said. “I know him pretty well. He’s going to be a really good player for us. That was probably his best game of the year.”http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/hockey/rangers/richards-picking-pace-article-1.1278084?localLinksEnabled=false

metswon69
03-03-2013, 01:46 PM
It's a good idea for the time being until Richards play is more consistent.

He should be more effective offensively and set up more opportunities for Nash and Hags to score.

It also might help him find the back of the net too.

SLY WILLIAMS
03-03-2013, 01:56 PM
He started pretty slow last season also. I think he is the only possible #1 center on this team so we should show some patience for now. I always thought he was the best center for Hags.

fingerbang
03-03-2013, 02:15 PM
Nash and Hagelin have to stay on the same line all season.

apdamico
03-03-2013, 05:58 PM
I'll be happy if both just stay healthy and productive for the rest of the season!

IAmARanger18
03-03-2013, 06:32 PM
Eventually Richie was going to wake up, we needed to be patient, not call for an amnesty on him like some ignorant fans wanted.

runnermjr1296
03-03-2013, 06:49 PM
I'll be happy if both just stay healthy and productive for the rest of the season!

Bingo!!! If we stay healthy we'll be just fine!

NYRaiderLove
03-09-2013, 04:09 PM
Stepans been a stud recently. Richie starting to get his legs going

IAmARanger18
03-09-2013, 05:52 PM
We finally have two top lines, if we can get Gaborik going, our top 6 will be lethal.