Richards scored his 200th career goal to break a tie after a video review midway through the third period and the Stars edged the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on Tuesday night.
With the game tied at 1, Richards' shot from the left circle glanced off the post, and the referees initially ruled no goal at 8:24 of the final period.
Jonas Hiller controlled the puck to stop play, and replays showed that the puck fluttered over the goal line in the air.
"I wasn't sure," Richards said. "I thought maybe it was in. But James was right there and he thought for sure it was in."
The game marked the debut of Swedish referee Marcus Vinnerborg, who became the first European to work an NHL game. Vinnerborg made the announcement that the goal counted, much to the delight of the Stars.
"It was good to see," said Dallas' Steve Ott, who added a power-play goal. "I screamed like a 10-year-old girl with all the fans when I saw it on the [replay board]."
Richards greeted the news with a wide grin, and a Stars equipment man saved the puck for the Stars center.
"It's special," Richards said. "I never thought I'd get a chance to play this long. To get that many goals, I'm fortunate. Hopefully there's many more and there's another milestone someday."
Kari Lehtonen stopped 26 shots as the Stars returned from an 0-3 road trip to win their fourth straight at home.
Dallas managed three goals during the three road losses, but has 17 in the past four home games.
"We've had a lot of bad breaks, hit a lot of posts," Ott said of the road trip. "The last couple games, we had 1-1 games going into the third period and we lost 'em. This is the direction we need to go in."
Corey Perry scored on the power play and Hiller made 24 saves for the Ducks.
Anaheim was 1 for 6 with the man advantage, missing out on several prime scoring opportunities.
"We had our fair share of chances," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "It wasn't like we were devoid of chances, we came up empty. Even more-so, we had lots of good chances on our power play, too. ... We're just not really sharp offensively. We got to think 'shoot more,' be a little more selfish."
The Stars got a break midway through the first period when Anaheim's Teemu Selanne rang a shot off the right post. Lehtonen made a glove save on Todd Marchant's short-handed breakaway with just under six minutes left in the opening period.
Only 12 seconds later on the same power play, Richards' pass sent Ott in alone, and Ott shot the puck between Hiller's pads to give Dallas the lead at 14:43.
"That's how it happens, you make a good save and something good happens on the other end," Lehtonen said. "I felt great after that, very confident, and that helped me through the game."
Anaheim was on its fifth power play of the game when Perry fired a loose puck past Lehtonen at 8:29 of the second period to tie it at 1.
- The NHL hired Vinnerborg over the summer to referee primarily in the AHL, but he's also scheduled to get a few more NHL games. Vinnerborg is also assigned to officiate Wednesday night's San Jose at Colorado game. He previously worked in the Swedish Elite League and has handled a number of major international assignments, including the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
- Anaheim won the first two meetings between the teams by a combined score of 9-4.
- Marchant returned to Anaheim's lineup after missing the previous game with an upper-body injury.
- allas C Mike Ribeiro remains without a goal in his first 16 games, the longest drought at the start of a season in a career spanning 11 seasons.