As tough of a regular season as it was for the New York Rangers, it was an even tougher one for Brad Richards. He struggled for much of the shortened schedule during a season in which buyout talk was a hot topic surrounding the veteran forward.
If Richards can keep up the pace that he set towards the end of the season, though, that buyout talk won’t last for long, even with a shrinking salary cap next season. With the Blueshirts in need of wins in order to crack the top eight in the Eastern Conference, Richards stepped up in a big way.
With a 48-game schedule, the Rangers certainly would have liked a little more than he 34 points they ended up getting from Richards. But that point total may have been lower had it not been for the way that he finished off the regular season.
Richards finished off the regular season with a six-game point streak. Eleven of his 34 points on the season came from that streak alone. Over that span, he notched five goals, including a hat trick back on April 19th, and finished with four multi-point games. The Rangers won five of those six games.
He was also extremely effective at the dot in those games as well. In five of those six, he finished with a success rate of at least 54 percent at the dot. He was in the box for just two minutes over those six games as well.
Given their success over the past couple of weeks, it’s safe to say that Richards is a tremendous factor for the Rangers. When he’s playing at this high of a level, this is going to be a tough team to beat. If he sinks back to that form that sparked that talk of a buyout earlier in the year, success isn’t as likely.
It will be interesting to see which version of Brad Richards shows up when the Rangers get underway here in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As Richards goes, so go the New York Rangers.