|Play a high energy, up tempo game with a strong forecheck, Brad Richardson tallied his first goal as a King on Tuesday, the game winner.
There was never a doubt in Brad Richardson
's mind that it was his.
With a back and forth game against Southern California rival Anaheim tied late in the third period, Kings defenseman Jack Johnson fired a shot from inside the blueline that eventually found its way past goaltender Jonas Hiller for the game-winning goal.
Kings players began to mob Johnson and the public address announcer initially announced that it was his goal.
But Richardson knew it was his.
Richardson deflected Johnson's shot, scoring his first goal of the season and finally reaping a tangible reward for the hard work he has put in so far this season.
"I knew I tipped it," Richardson said. "Jack even said 'Yeah you tipped it.' So it wasn't a big deal, I knew it would be changed. No worries about that, I just wanted to win the game."
That mentality has been a characteristic which Richardson has put on full display this season. Heading into Tuesday's game against Anaheim, Richardson had played 26 games for the Kings on the fourth line with Raitis Ivanans and Peter Harrold amongst others. Yet prior to Tuesday's game, Richardson had not registered a point.
As if that weren't enough, Richardson had yet to score a goal as a member of the Kings. Last season, Richardson played in 31 games yet failed to find the back of the net, making Tuesday's heroics all the more striking.
"Yeah it's been awhile since I scored," Richardson said. "I feel like I've been playing pretty well but just haven't been getting the breaks. Finally feels good to get one and get that monkey off the back so to speak."
Coach Terry Murray called it Richardson's best game of the year, and credited him with starting the play that resulted in the game-winning goal.
"When you look at it, he goes back into our D zone just inside of the blueline as the tracker and makes that play to get it right back up on the attack again," Murray said. "That's kind of the attitude I just talked about a second ago here, about staying after it, keep playing the game."
Murray also noted the high energy Richardson brings daily, especially on the forecheck.
That mentality is exactly what Richardson believes is expected from him on the fourth line.
"When you're on the fourth line, that's the kind of stuff you have to do," Richardson said.
Last season was a difficult one for Richardson, who missed 22 games with a foot injury. Richardson said it was tough to return from the injury and he was forced to play a continuous game of catch-up.
"Last year I got to start playing a bit, hurt myself, missed a bunch of games and it's always tough when you're playing catch-up there," Richardson said. "This year I felt like I had a good camp. I got a chance to play every night, which is huge. You get in there, you feel comfortable."
Murray believes that the improvement Richardson has made from last season to this one, especially in the dot-to-board play, is a direct result of increased confidence coming from increased ice time.
"It all kind of goes hand in hand I guess with getting into the lineup and staying there and playing a consistent basis," Murray said. "Your confidence level gets elevated and you're handling the puck a lot more, you're feeling good about yourself."