After Richards was crashed into the boards by the Buffalo Sabres forward with his stick at 3:28 of the third period, the Rangers scored twice on the ensuing five-minute power play before winning the game 3-2 in a shootout.
Rangers coach John Tortorella was aware that Kaleta's cheap shot changed the complexion of the game but had some stern words for Kaleta after the culprit was tossed.
"I'm glad we made them pay," Tortorella told reporters after the game. "It's disgusting. It's a lack of respect. Each team wants to beat the other team, but you have to respect what's going on, on the ice."
Richards went into the boards head first and was on the ice for a few minutes holding what appeared to be his left shoulder. He got up on his own power and slowly skated off the ice before returning to help his team score on the power play.
Torts had some more choice words for Kaleta — who was suspended for four games last season for head-butting the Flyers' Jakub Voracek — and his reputation.
"It's probably one of the most dangerous hits I've seen," said the irate coach. " Same guys...it's ridiculous," he said, pausing and trying to compose himself. "That's what I thought."
Richards — who claims he was only catching his breath while he lay on the ice — jumped all over Kaleta's nasty cheap shot after the win.
"That's not a hit ever that was in the game, I don't think," Richards said. "It's a little different than a head shot. That's just stupidity. If we're all going to look at each other's numbers and ram each other from behind head first into the boards, it's going to be a tough game to play. It's not hockey, I don't know what game he plays. He doesn't play hockey to begin with. It's the same guy all the time.
"At least we got something out of it," Richards said of the Rangers' rally.