Rangers' Brad Richards Continues to Show His Worth, Breaks Long Goal-Less Streak

Scott Abuso@@abusemeoCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 06:  Brad Richards #19 of the New York Rangers in action during the NHL game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on January 6, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Rangers defeated the Penguins 3-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Brad Richards has been one of the focal points of the New York Rangers recent "slump," if one could call it that.

A major offseason signing, Richards came in facing the expectations of an outstanding, goal scoring, assist making center.

What fans got, to begin with, was just that.  In recent games, the past 12 actually, Brad Richards has scored a total of zero goals, and put up just four assists, a sub-par performance for a man who was set to be the savior of the struggling Rangers.

However, there is something about  Richards that the stat sheets just don't seem to capture.

Richards is, next to Henrik Lundqvist, the most clutch player on the New York Rangers.

He comes up large in situations he's needed most.  With seven game winners this season, Richards has shown the Rangers and their fans why he received his huge contract.  

It's easy for fans to jump on a player's back when they're struggling, and i can understand why this happened to Richards.  With all the hype surrounding him, he had huge shoes to fill.

With Richards current struggles, fans seemed to almost abandon any hope they had in him.  They should have thought twice.

In tonight's win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Richards scored the game winner in a diving effort that can only be described as breathtaking.

It was a great moment for the Rangers and their fans, as it secured a crucial overtime victory.

Richards, the man who brought the Rangers a victory with .1 seconds remaining on the clock, who led them to a Winter Classic win over the Philadelphia Flyers, is going nowhere. 

All of this was done during a time in which Richards has worked to change his style of play entirely. He switched from a team in the Dallas Stars that was extremely offensively minded, to the Rangers who play a very defensive style.

Whether or not he's earning the "major points" fans originally expected him too, he is one of the best players on the Rangers, and he proved his worth time after time, especially tonight.