Brad Richards gets game-winner for Rangers

Brad Richards #19 of the New York Rangers

Brad Richards #19 of the New York Rangers celebrates a second period goal by teammate Steve Eminger #44 (not pictured) against the New York Islanders. (Nov. 15, 2011) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

In the 16th game of the season, Brad Richards finally got to wear the black fedora that he brought back to New York from Europe.

The so-called Broadway hat is passed on to the game MVP after a Rangers win, and Richards' slap shot at 15:05 of the third period that whistled by goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and snapped a tie at 2 was just enough for the Blueshirts to extend their winning streak to seven games Tuesday night.

Richards' sixth goal of the season came when Brandon Dubinsky gloved down a clearing attempt by Josh Bailey in the high slot. Richards was lurking on his left.

"As soon as he got it, he made a good play because guys pressured him right away," Richards said. "I was open and I was hoping I was going to get it. He gave me time to walk into it."

Hanging in has been the formula for the streak, which can be extended to eight against the Canadiens on Saturday night, when the Rangers visit Montreal. The last eight-game winning streak was in the 1974-75 season.

"We're not the type of team that blows game wide open," Dubinsky said. "We've been in this position so many times, it's helped us out with our confidence level. Rather than taking chances, we stay patient."

On the winner, Dubinsky moved fast, however.

"I was kind of on my way back [toward center ice]," he said. "I think they were a little tired and I just saw them flip it. I just got there in time and jumped up. I was able to corral it pretty quickly and then I saw Brad by himself on the side. It was a heck of a shot."

The Islanders pressured at the end, pulling Nabokov, but Henrik Lundqvist, who finished with 31 saves, barred the door.

"It doesn't get old watching him make those saves," said Ryan Callahan, who set up Steve Eminger in the crease with a highlight-reel pass at 6:07 of the second and scored the fourth and final goal into an empty net with one second remaining on a long slapper from mid-ice. "That's what we need to win games. He's the backbone of this team as he has been for years."

And so far, Richards, the 31-year-old center who was signed to a nine-year, $60-million contract in July to provide points, is doing so. "It's a long season," Richards said, "but right now, it's going our way."

Notes & quotes: LW Aaron Voros, who played for the Rangers from for two seasons before being traded to the Ducks in June 2010 for Eminger, signed a tryout contract with the Whale . . . D Anton Stralman, signed as a free agent on Nov. 5, was a healthy scratch again . . . Sean Avery got the Rangers on the board first, with his second goal in two games; the Rangers are 5-0 with him in the lineup . . . Eminger's goal was the 10th by a Rangers defenseman this season, fifth-best in the league . . . The Rangers killed three consecutive power plays (four of five overall) in the second period, then did not score on a 5-on-3 for 1:32 late in the period.

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