Richards was sidelined the past two games with some general soreness issues stemming from Sunday's hit from Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta that sent him head-first into the boards. The play earned Kaleta a five-game suspension.
Although the Rangers are still without defenseman Marc Staal, who is out indefinitely with an eye injury, they have all their key forwards back with Richards' return.
Star winger Rick Nash returned four games ago, and the team has not lost since.
The Rangers aimed to collect their fifth straight win Friday when they hosted the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden in a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Richards was looking to snap a 15-game goal drought in his first game back. He has not scored since Jan. 26.