Rangers 8, Sabres 4
Brad Richards needed 896 games for his first NHL hat trick, and it came at just the right time.
Richards scored twice as New York had five goals in a span of less than three minutes and he then completed the hat trick in the third period in a rout of Buffalo on Friday night.
Richards has five points — four goals and an assist — in the last 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.
The Rangers' five goals in a span of 2:58 set a franchise record. The previous mark for fastest five goals was 3:22 in an 8-7 win over Edmonton on Feb. 15, 1985.
The scoring started with 1:18 remaining in the first period when Hagelin skated down the left side, circled behind the net and attempted to pass to Callahan in front. However, Hagelin's pass went off the right skate of the Sabres' Adam Pardy and into the net.
Then, 47 seconds later, Richards gathered a loose puck outside the right faceoff circle and fired the puck toward Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller. The shot deflected off the left skate of Buffalo's Christian Ehrhoff and went between Miller's legs for a 2-0 lead with 31 seconds remaining.
With just over 3 seconds remaining in the period, Miller mishandled the puck on a dump-in, setting up Clowe for an easy goal as his backhander beat a diving Miller.
"Yeah, I just shot in on net hoping to do nothing, really, just get it on net," Clowe said. "I thought time was running out, but I quick glanced at the (time) so I thought I'd forecheck. I think he just went over the top of it and I knew he was kind of out of the net so I tried to go to my backhand and it worked."
Just 73 seconds into the second period, New York made it 4-0 when Stralman's shot beat Miller on his glove side, finding space between his left shoulder and the pipe. Miller was pulled before the faceoff, replaced by Jhonas Enroth.
Enroth did not have any better luck stopping the Rangers. After initially making a save on John Moore's shot from the point, the puck dribbled through Enroth and Richards tapped in the loose puck for a 5-0 lead.
Blackhawks 5, Predators 4 (OT)
Marian Hossa scored a power-play goal just 52 seconds into overtime and streaking Chicago swept the season series against Nashville for the first time.
With Rich Clune in the penalty box serving a four-minute minor for high sticking, Patrick Kane sent a pass across the ice to Hossa, who one-timed it past Pekka Rinne for his 17th goal of the season.
Kane, Michal Handzus, Duncan Keith and Brandon Saad also scored for the NHL-best Blackhawks, who have won seven in a row.
Slumping Nashville has dropped eight in a row and 11 of 12 overall. Matt Halischuk had two goals and Kevin Henderson scored in his first NHL game, but the Predators still lost to the Blackhawks for the fourth time this month and the sixth consecutive occasion dating to last season.
Blues 2, Stars 1
Brian Elliott made 21 saves to help St. Louis win for the ninth time in its last 11 games with a victory over Dallas.
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.
Oilers 4, Avalanche 1
Jordan Eberle scored and had two assists, Devan Dubnyk stopped 33 shots and Edmonton snapped a six-game skid.
Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also had goals for the Oilers, who kept their faint postseason hopes afloat. They trail current No. 8 seed Columbus by eight points with five games to play.
This also was Edmonton's first win since firing general manager Steve Tambellini on Monday and replacing him with former Oilers coach Craig MacTavish.
P.A. Parenteau had the lone goal for a struggling Colorado Avalanche squad that's 2-5-3 in its last 10 games.
Flames 3, Ducks 1
Miikka Kiprusoff, amid speculation that he may retire at season's end, made 32 saves in Calgary's regular-season home finale to lead the Flames over playoff-bound Anaheim.
Roman Horak and Brian McGrattan each scored and Roman Cervenka added an empty-net goal for the Flames, who close with a four-game road trip beginning Sunday in Minnesota.
Corey Perry scored for the Ducks, ending Kiprusoff's bid for his 45th career shutout with 3:41 remaining when he buried a shot inside the far goal post from 20 feet out on a setup from Kyle Palmieri. Although Kiprusoff has one year remaining on his contract, it drops to $1.5 million next year and there has been rampant speculation that the 36-year-old will call it a career.
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