Brad Richards' goal helps Blackhawks top Rangers, 1-0

By on March 19, 2015

Brad Richards, of all Chicago Blackhawks, snapped the Rangers’ five-game winning streak Wednesday night at the Garden in a 1-0 shutout.

The former Blueshirt center Richards, who still calls New York home in the offseason, scored at 7:19 of the third period on Cam Talbot to hand his ex-teammates just their second regulation defeat since Feb. 7.

Henrik Lundqvist is cleared to practice with the team and optimism in general was high coming into the game. Lundqvist said he’ll need about a week, maybe longer, for game action, but said he’s “excited” to play and “impressed but not surprised” by Talbot’s play in his stead.

“Especially I think the last 10, 11 games, (Talbot) looks like he’s in a lot of control when he plays,” Lundqvist said. “And I think a lot of it is confidence but also small details that he, I think, corrected. He’s been winning games for the team, and he’s been playing at a really high level. For me, there’s no stress for me to come back. He’s been doing a great job. But obviously I want to play. I want to come back and help the team.”

In front of Talbot on Wednesday, though, the Rangers (44-18-7, 95 points) did not make things difficult at all on Chicago backup goalie Scott Darling. The Blackhawks (43-21-6, 92 points) therefore got revenge for a 1-0 overtime loss at the United Center on March 8.

The Rangers lost in regulation for the first time since a 4-2 defeat in Philadelphia on Feb. 28. They had gone their last seven games without doing so (6-0-1). Their loss to the Flyers had been their only regulation defeat in a stretch of 18 games (14-1-3).

Richards scored high glove on Talbot after confusion in the Rangers’ defensive zone left him alone at the right post, and forward Jesper Fast stood flat-footed and didn’t retreat to defend. It was Richards’ second goal in his last 26 games.

Rick Nash goes airborne over Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Rick Nash goes airborne over Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling.

Talbot stopped Patrick Sharp on a breakaway with six-and-a-half minutes remaining trailing by a goal, and also denied Brandon Saad in front in the final two minutes. But the Rangers couldn’t capitalize with a game-tying goal late, including on their game’s second power play.

New York’s power play used different personnel in the absence of St. Louis but went 0-for-2 with five shots on goal. Their power play fell to a paltry 3-for-41 in the past 16 games, including 0-for-16 in the last six matches.

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