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Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 1, Rangers 0

NEW YORK -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 1-0 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden:

How it happened: Brad Richards, who played the past three seasons for the Rangers, broke a scoreless tie with a goal at 7:19 of the third period. Richards collected the puck at the side of the net and was able to skate out in front and beat Cam Talbot on the short side. The Rangers weren't able to beat Hawks backup goalie Scott Darling, who impressively stopped Rick Nash on a first-period breakaway en route to his first career shutout. Just as in the March 8 game at the United Center -- which New York won 1-0 on a Derick Brassard goal in overtime -- the Blackhawks and Rangers were able to shut each other down. That game featured many more scoring chances than this one did.

What it means: The Blackhawks won their fourth straight game and moved within two points of the second-place Nashville Predators in the Central Division. The Hawks still have two games in hand on the Predators, who didn't play Wednesday.

Player of the game: Richards, who was cheered when the Rangers played a video tribute during the first period, drew a few boos for the goal, only his second since Jan. 11 -- but also his second game winner in the past three games.

Stat of the game: If these two teams meet in the Stanley Cup finals, get ready for long nights. In the first five periods they played against each other this season, neither team scored, with the Rangers getting 50 shots on goal and the Blackhawks 42.

What's next: The Blackhawks continue their four-game road trip with a Saturday night game in Dallas against the Stars.