ARLINGTON, Va. – It’s impossible to mistake Matt Hendricks for Alex Ovechkin, but the Capitals fourth-line grinder isn’t a stranger to the net, either. His goal Friday night was just about as dirty as you’d expect out of him as he tapped a rebound of a Jason Arnott shot past Carolina goalie Cam Ward.
“I just went to the net, hoping it was gonna be there if Arny didn’t score,” Hendricks said, “and it worked out.”
It worked out, because Hendricks is just about the last guy in the Caps lineup looking for style points. Pretty goals aren’t what he tries to do, but he’d like to score every once in a while.
Hendricks had gone 17 games without a goal before his game-winner against the Hurricanes, his eighth of the season. But unlike many pugilistic NHL forwards who don’t even consider scoring part of their repertoire, Hendricks likes providing some offense in addition to his other duties. He’d like to get to double digits before the end of the year.
“I wanna chip in. If I can chip one in – every five to 10 games, if I can chip a goal in, that’s big for me. That really hasn’t happened for me this year,” Hendricks said. “I definitely wanna get on the score sheet more, goals-wise, than I have this season.”
Friday wasn’t even about scoring prowess as much as it was hard work paying off. Hendricks blocked a shot on the defensive end, then followed Arnott down the ice as the big ex-Devils center went in on a breakaway. With the puck sitting in the crease, all Hendricks had to do was hit the empty net.
He said he’s learned his lesson on such plays – that being in the right place at the right time often pays dividends. Hendricks’ all-around play from one end of the rink to the other certainly did vs. Carolina, helping the Caps continue their winning streak.
“Blocking shots is a tough job, and it was good on him to follow the play up cause you never know what can happen,” defenseman Jeff Schultz said. “A rebound’s laying there and it did and he was able to put it in and be the hero.”
Check out the goal here: