Photo: Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports
Mike Richards scored his first goal as a Washington Capital on Monday after going point-less in his first 14 games. Seven months after his contract with the Los Angeles Kings was terminated and his career was in tatters, Richards put the puck in the back of the net.
Much like his redemption writ large, the goal was the result of hard work.
Richards chased the puck into the offensive zone. He forced a turnover and attacked a rebound loose in the crease. There was a chaos in front of the net, then celebration. Richards had scored his first goal since January 3, 2015.
“The game was so fast right when I got really in practice,” Richards said after the game to CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Al Koken. “It just escalates as you get to the games. Now I’m back to normal. I feel good on the ice and I’m starting to make some plays now.”
Jason Chimera made sure to pick up the puck as a keepsake for Richie.
“That was nice when I saw it go in,” Richards said. “Obviously I’ve had a lot of chances in the last couple games. It was definitely nice to see it go in.”
Richards’ teammates were especially happy for him.
The tally came 26 seconds after Alex Ovechkin scored and stood up as the game-winning goal. He received a standing ovation from the Verizon Center crowd.
“It was nice,” Richards said of the gesture from Caps fans. “It’s been a while since I scored a goal so it’s definitely nice. Thank you.”
As he walked down the tunnel towards the locker room, Richards gave his game-winning stick away to a fan.
Mike Richards gave the stick he scored the game-winning goal with to a fan pic.twitter.com/30ACIWIL3l
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) February 23, 2016
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 23, 2016
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