How far will the Rangers get this season?

Richards Faces Former Team At MSG

Brad Richards has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his last nine games

Brad Richards has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his last nine games

When: Tuesday, December 13, 7:00 p.m.

Opponent: vs. Dallas (16-11-1)


UPDATE: Larry Brooks reports that Mike Sauer has not been around the Rangers and will not make the trip west to St. Louis and Phoenix. (11:02 a.m.)

UPDATE: Marc Staal skated with his teammates this morning for the first time since being shut down in early October.  Staal and Wojtek Wolski both were wearing non-contact jerseys today, but Mike Rupp has been cleared for contact.  (10:47 a.m.)

UPDATE: Erik Christensen will skate in place of Sean Avery again.  Henrik Lundqvist will start in net.  (10:27 a.m.)


EARLIER: Dallas got off to a surprising start in 2010-2011 and led the Pacific Division deep into the season.  As a result, the Stars chose to hang onto pending unrestricted free agent Brad Richards with hopes that the 31-year-old could help drive the bankrupt franchise into the postseason.

Richards suffered a concussion and the Stars missed their chance to acquire even a single asset for their No. 1 center.  Instead, Richards signed a nine-year, $60 million deal with the New York Rangers this summer.

Dallas replaced Richards with free agent signings Michael Ryder, Radek Dvorak and Sheldon Souray and few imagined that the club could compete in the Western Conference. 

But just like last season, Dallas has gotten off to a strong start and currently leads the Pacific Division.  The Stars obviously miss Richards, but his departure has been mitigated by the emergence of Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson.

Dallas will get reacquainted with its former No. 1 center on Tuesday night when the Stars visit Madison Square Garden.

It could be a bit of a bitter pill for the Stars to swallow, as Richards has quickly carried the Rangers to new heights.

He’s the lone major addition to a team that squeaked into the playoffs last season, but trails the current Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers by a single point this year.

Perhaps even more sickening for Dallas is that several of the various young pieces the Stars might have been able to obtain for Richards last year – Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh, Mike Sauer, Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov – have improved dramatically this year and look like bona fide stars in the making.

Dallas has done pretty well for itself thus far, but the chinks in the Stars’ armor are growing more obvious.  The Stars are just 5-8-1 in their last 14 games and their early season run may be drawing to a close.

Goaltender Kari Lehtonen had emerged as a shocking early Vezina Trophy contender before succumbing to a hamstring injury, which has kept him out of action since Thanksgiving.  Andrew Raycroft has struggled mightily in his stead.

And after a torrid start, Benn has just five points in his last 12 games and the Stars’ undermanned offense is beginning to struggle to produce.  Now San Jose trails Dallas by a single point and seems like a sure bet to overtake the Stars, perhaps by the end of the week. 

Meanwhile, Richards and the Rangers are only getting better.  Richards has 12 points in his last nine games (five goals, seven assists) and has already produced 11 power play points this season.

He’s a big reason why New York has won 14 of its last 18 games and has joined the ranks of the NHL’s elite.


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Posted by Kevin Baumer | December 13, 2011 at 10:50 am

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

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Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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