The New York Rangers needed almost five hours to secure a triple-overtime 2-1 victory over Washington on Wednesday, giving the Eastern Conference top seed an equally narrow advantage in their second-round playoff series.
Henrik Lundqvist produced an inspired performance with 45 saves to shade rookie Braden Holtby, who made 47 stops at the other end.
New York's Ryan Callahan scored in the second period before John Carlson tied it for Washington but neither side could add to the tally in the next 84 minutes of play until Gaborik ended the contest.
Both sides will now enjoy a well-earned rest before Game Four in Washington on Saturday.
"It's good we have two days to recharge the batteries because that's an emotional victory," New York's Richards told reporters. "��Every little play is huge, every chance you get to put it on the net (you do it)."
Over in the West, Pekka Rinne made 32 saves to help revive Nashville's playoff hopes after the hosts shut out the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0, reducing their best-of-seven second round series deficit to 2-1 in the process.
With Rinne preventing Phoenix from finding the net, David Legwand and Mike Fisher delighted the home crowd with first-period goals and the Predators made light of their weakened lineup to get back into the series.
Victory on home ice in Game Four on Friday will tie up the series before the teams return to Phoenix.
Predators forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn were both serving team-issued suspensions for violating unspecified rules, but that hardly mattered with Rinne in such irresistible form.
Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith, who has carried much of the load for the Coyotes this post-season, recovered from his shaky first period to finish with 24 saves.
The Coyotes opened the series with an overtime victory and a 5-3 triumph in Game Two.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)