He is chipping in on the score sheet, too.
The veteran center scored on a short-handed breakaway early in the
third period, leading Edmonton to a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres
on Monday night.
"They want me to be vocal, they want me to be the type of person
that I am, the type of player that I am, which has made it very
easy," Hendricks said.
Hendricks joined the Oilers in a trade with the Nashville Predators
on Jan. 14. The 32-year-old is known for his work ethic and
leadership, which is welcome on a team that features some of the
youngest up-and-coming talent in the NHL.
Hendricks scored the game-winner 57 seconds into the final period.
After a Sabres miscue, center Boyd Gordon fed Hendricks with a pass
down the middle of the ice, and Hendricks beat Sabres goalie Jhonas
Enroth with a low wrist shot to the blocker side.
"He's preaching all the stuff that we need here," Oilers coach
Dallas Eakins said of Hendricks. "He's been excellent for me coming
in. He plays extremely hard every night, he lays it on the line.
"He's been a good penalty killer for us, but definitely a guy that's
very vocal, has a very strong opinion about habits, about being a
good teammate, the work that has to go into being a good team. I
think a lot of our guys need to be listening to that 'cause he
certainly knows what he's talking about."
Defensemen Jeff Petry and Justin Schultz also scored for the Oilers.
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov made 42 saves.
The game was a battle between the two worst teams in the league.
Buffalo (15-32-8) is last in the Eastern Conference, while Edmonton
(19-33-6) sits last in the Western Conference.
"I thought it was an ugly game both ways," Eakins said. "It never
seemed to be able to pick up any speed, and it seemed when the game
got into the flow of it, there was a penalty one way or the other.
Seemed like there were a lot of whistles. It was a tough one I think
for both teams to get going in."
Center Steve Ott and right winger Drew Stafford scored for Buffalo.
Enroth stopped 25 shots.
The Oilers jumped on top 32 seconds into the game. Petry burst past
Sabres defenseman Jamie McBain with a slick move up ice before
putting a backhand shot past Enroth.
[to top of second column]
"Unfortunately, the first shot of the game goes in and it's 1-0,"
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. "They responded pretty well.
Any time you get 44 shots, and some really good looks and a couple
of goal posts, we're up 2-1 with the possibility of making it 3-1,
it's a different result. The big thing is we just want to see a good
effort, and we got one."
The Sabres evened the score 8:04 into the first period on a rebound
shot from Ott. His backhand strike went through the legs of
Bryzgalov and inched over the line before Petry's last-gasp
Stafford gave Buffalo a 2-1 lead on a highlight-reel strike with
just under one minute remaining in the first period. On a
short-handed, two-on-one rush, Stafford roofed a wrist shot for his
eighth goal of the season.
Edmonton tied the game at 2 with 3:15 remaining in the second on
Schultz's eighth goal of the season. Schultz launched a wrist shot
from the middle of the right circle into the top left corner of the
Buffalo net. The goal was one of the few bright moments in an
otherwise sloppy second period; the teams combined for seven
penalties in the period.
The Sabres nearly tied the game midway through the third period, but
officials ruled that the whistle blew before left winger Marcus
Foligno tipped the puck into the net at 9:35.
"I didn't think (Bryzgalov) had control over it," Foligno said. "I
thought it was between his pad and his glove. I think (the referee)
just caught himself on the wrong side of the goalie, and I thought
it was in. It was just a quick whistle. It was a tough break. We
could've had momentum after that shift with a goal."
Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers left the game in the second period
with a lower-body injury. Details of the injury were not known
immediately following the game.
NOTES: The Oilers scratched LW Ryan Jones, D Corey Potter and D
Anton Belov. ... Buffalo LW Ville Leino, D Chad Ruhwedel and C Zenon
Konopka did not dress. ... Prior to the game, the Sabres placed LW
Matt Moulson on injured reserve. ... Buffalo RW Drew Stafford
returned to the lineup after missing four games due to an upper-body
injury. ... This was the first of two meetings between the Sabres
and Oilers this season. They face off again March 20 in Edmonton.
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