Photo credit: Greg Fiume
The surprise is that there was no surprise.
With the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens locked at two as the clock hit zero in overtime, Matt Hendricks got ready to take the ice for the shootout. The fourth liner, not one of the highly skilled Russians or Nicklas Backstrom in his grand return, was set to shoot first in the most important gimmick of season — that is, if you don’t count the one 48 hours ago. And once again Hendricks made the moves you know by heart: fake, leg lift, deke, deke, wrist shot, score. Eight goals, 12 opportunities, one move.
It’s a routine so complicated that after three years in the NHL, and endless posts by us, goalies still get embarrassed — sometimes badly. And for Habs netminder Peter Budaj unfamiliarity is even less of an excuse.
“I played with him in Denver,” Hendricks, who also notched a sweet assist Saturday night, told reporters with a laugh afterwards. “He knew what I was doing the whole time.”
But after one question — or rather a myriad of them over his two years in Washington — Hendricks got a bit tired of the subject.
“Let’s not talk about shootouts,” he said. “No more attention to it.”
“Anybody else?” he asked.