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.
If you want to prove people wrong, you've just got to go out and do it. Yeah, we blew 3-2 series leads the last two years, but no one is going remember that if we go out there on Saturday night and beat these guys and go play in the Stanley Cup Final. We need to get back to work and we'll start to do that tomorrow.
— Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri following a loss to the Blackhawks in Game 6 on Wednesday