BUFFALO, N.Y. — Brad Richards needed 896 games for his first NHL hat trick, and it came at just the right time.
Richards scored twice as the New York Rangers had five goals in a span of less than 3 minutes and he then completed the hat trick in the third period in an 8-4 rout of the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Richards has five points – four goals and an assist – in the past two games.
“I don’t even really want to talk about it,” Richards said. “I don’t want to jinx it. It’s just, if it’s back now, it’s a great time to have it. Let’s put it that way.”
Richards, who had 22 two-goal teams in his 11-year career, has 10 goals this season.
Richards scored the game’s second goal – on a shot off a Sabres defenseman –as the Rangers scored a franchise-record five goals in 178 seconds and improved to 23-17-4. New York remains in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 50 points.
Carl Hagelin, Ryane Clowe, Anton Stralman, Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan also scored for New York.
Cody Hodgson, Nathan Gerbe, Drew Stafford and Mark Pysyk scored for Buffalo, which was eliminated from the postseason picture and had its three-game winning streak stopped.
BLUES 2, STARS 1
In St. Louis, Brian Elliott made 21 saves to help the Blues win for the ninth time in their past 11 games.
Ryan Reaves and Chris Stewart scored for the Blues, who are in sixth in the Western Conference with 54 points – one behind Vancouver, Los Angeles and San Jose, who are tied for third.
Antoine Roussel scored for Dallas, which came in with six victories in its last seven games. The Stars are tied with Detroit for ninth place in the Western Conference with 47 points, two behind Columbus, which holds the final playoff spot.
Elliott recorded his league-leading eighth win in April, won for the sixth time in his past seven games and improved to 8-1 since a two-game stint in the minors in late March.
SENATORS: Star defenseman Erik Karlsson is practicing again with the Ottawa.
He underwent surgery Feb. 14 for a torn left Achilles tendon. He was injured when Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke stepped on the back of his leg.
At the time, it was thought Karlsson would need six months to fully recover. Now there is a possibility he could play this year, although there’s no timetable for his return.
He took part in his first full practice Friday and didn’t seem to show signs of discomfort.
He called the workout a “good thing” and says it gave him “some perspective on where I am right now.”
Karlsson won the Norris Trophy last season as the NHL’s top defenseman. He led defenseman in goals (19) and points (78). He had 10 points in 14 games this season before he was hurt.