BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New York Rangers scored five times in a span of less than 3 minutes and Brad Richards notched his first NHL hat trick in an 8-4 rout of the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
The five-goal spurt at the end of the opening period and the beginning of the second was part of a 6-0 outburst to start the game. Richards scored two of the first five goals, and then completed the hat trick in the third period as the win kept the Rangers in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
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 five goals in a span of 2:58 set a Rangers 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.
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.
Nash’s 19th goal of the season gave the Rangers a 6-0 lead following a pass from Derek Stepan. Nash’s shot from the right face-off circle beat Enroth on the stick side.
Stepan had two assists, while Clowe and Nash each recorded a goal and an assist.
New York has 50 points, and while Buffalo could pick up as many as 50 points by winning its remaining three games, the Sabres lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Rangers.
Buffalo got on the board with two goals in 6 seconds. Hodgson deflected Ehrhoff’s shot from the right point on the power play at 13:50 in the second. Gerbe then broke up a pass and his shot beat Henrik Lundqvist high on the glove side.
Just 32 seconds after Gerbe’s goal, Callahan stole the puck from Buffalo’s Mike Weber and his forehand beat Enroth on the glove side for a 7-2 lead.
After Marcus Foligno won a face-off in the Rangers’ end, Stafford scored. But Richards made it 8-3 when his shot from roughly 40 feet eluded Enroth, completing his hat trick. Richards had scored two goals in a game 22 other times in his 11-year NHL career.
Buffalo closed the scoring on Pysyk’s first NHL goal, on the power play, with 40 seconds left.