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Brad Richardson talks four-goal performance, Coyotes’ playoff push

Arizona Coyotes center Brad Richardson (15) smiles as he celebrates his hat trick against the Vancouver Canucks with defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

In his fourteenth NHL season, Brad Richardson is having the best year of his career, and it all came to a head on Thursday night.

The 35-year-old hadn’t had a season where he scored more than 11 goals since 2006-07, but Richardson’s four-goal performance against the Canucks brought his season total to 16 in just 48 games. He became the first Coyotes player to score four goals in a game since Keith Tkachuk all the way back in 1997.

Richardson talked about his career night with Burns and Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Friday afternoon, and mentioned that it felt nice doing so against his former team.

“To be honest, it does a little bit,” Richardson said when asked if doing it against the Canucks made his performance feel more special. “It’s always nice. You always want to stick it to your old team. My other hat trick was against a former team as well, so I’ve got a little trend going there.”

Richardson also talked about the Coyotes’ recent hot streak and what they’ll need to do if they want to make the playoffs.

“We figured out how we have to win and how to be successful,” Richardson said. “Defense first, great goal tending, which we’ve had all year, and timely scoring from multiple guys. We’ve had tons of guys step up through the injuries, and I think it shows the character of our team.

“We all know we have to chip in and play good, and everyone has to contribute to be successful. It clicked in that this is how we have to play. We have to be stingy defensively, and I think everyone has bought into that.”

Coyotes’ head coach Rick Tocchet also talked about Richardson’s performance with Doug and Wolf on Friday morning, and pointed to the veteran’s hard work as a reason for his breakout campaign.

“For me, it’s just his work ethic,” Tocchet said about Richardson’s emergence. “At practice, he’s our hardest working guy everyday. You do a drill, and he does it full blast. He’s one of those guys.

“If there’s a 10 o’clock gym meeting, he’s there at 9:45. He’s just a great example for our young guys. For us to re-sign him was unbelievable,” the coach added.

“It’s always nice if your coach likes the way you play,” Richardson said about Tocchet’s praises of him. “The only way I know how to play is play hard, and when I came into the league, that’s how you had to make it. You had to work your ass off everyday or you wouldn’t be here, so I had to establish that work ethic right away.

“As the oldest guy on the team, you’re trying to set a good example on how to play the game the right way, and I try to do that each night.”

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