Richards beat Tim Thomas with a wrist shot to the top left corner after Thomas stopped the first two New York attempts in the tiebreaker. Henrik Lundqvist made a save against Brad Boyes to seal the Rangers' victory.
New York defenceman Dan Girardi scored with 2:10 left in regulation to send the game to overtime. Boyes had given the Panthers a 1-0 lead with a second-period goal after a Rangers turnover.
Thomas made 29 saves through overtime, and Lundqvist stopped 21, including one in the closing seconds of overtime on Tomas Fleischmann. It was the third and final meeting between the teams this season.
It's something that you don't really envision starting this way, but when you put the work in you don't feel like it's unwarranted. You definitely don't envision it unfolding this way, but you do think you can be successful at this level.
— Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, who defeated the Jets on Wednesday to improve to 6-0-1 since making his first NHL start on Feb. 18