While Mike Ribeiro got all of the accolades after scoring the OTGWG to give the Caps a 3-2 series lead Friday night, a few other Capitals gave valiant performances as well. One of those players was checking-line forward Matt Hendricks, who, in just 9:42 of ice time, blocked seven New York Rangers shots, a game high. He also had four hits.
Last year, after the Caps beat the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs, I spoke to Hendricks about his role as a wagon, a guy who sacrifices his body and does all of the little things to win.
“We’re more the role players, the guys who take pride in their niche on their team that doesn’t really revolve around scoring and putting up points,” Hendricks said nearly a year ago. “But we love our job, we love to be the guys in the trenches, blocking shots, paying the price at those times of the games to win.”
Hendricks continued, “When it comes down to the bumps and bruises, we have a lot of equipment on, but there’s a lot of soft areas in that equipment. Pucks do hit there a lot when you’re blocking them, sticks and slashes — it leaves you pretty banged up.”
On Friday, just two minutes into the game, Hendricks blocked a Dan Girardi shot with his right ankle. The Capitals forward struggled to the bench after the puck was cleared down the ice and winced in pain. Three minutes later, during Hendricks’ next shift as a penalty killer, he blocked two more shots. All in all, Hendricks would block six shots in total during the first period. Here’s a look at six of the seven shots he blocked on the night.
Ouch. No, I don’t know how he’s still able to stand up either.
Unfortunately for Hendy, he did not receive a respite at practice on Saturday morning. While the team was doing drills, The Paralyzer took a puck to the face.
Matt Hendricks was struck by the puck in practice, was cut above his mouth but no worse for wear.
— Katie Carrera (@kcarrera) May 11, 2013
No big deal, he came back and kept practicing.
This time of year, to win and advance, you must sacrifice your body and be tough. Luckily for the Capitals, their fourth line winger is as tough as nails.
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