Minnesota Wild: Close Preseason Game Loss to Winnipeg Jets

ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 17: Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets collides with Nick Seeler #36 of the Minnesota Wild in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Xcel Energy Center on April 17, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 17: Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets collides with Nick Seeler #36 of the Minnesota Wild in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Xcel Energy Center on April 17, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Wild
ST. PAUL, MN – JANUARY 13: Winnipeg Jets Center Matt Hendricks (15) warms up before a NHL game between the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets on January 13, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. The Wild defeated the Jets 4-1.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Matt Hendricks

Matt Hendricks scored the only Minnesota Wild goal in his return to Winnipeg to face his former team. That would be enough of a story on its own, but it means a little more when the WIld peppered the Jets goaltender with 40 shots and it was big ol’ Matt Hendricks who is the one to find twine.

Hendricks is not known for his goal scoring, the big man only scored 5 goals total last season. He is a fighter first and foremost, but he knows how to use his body to cause havoc in front of a goalie.

Which is exactly how Hendricks found the rebound for the goal. He and Marcus Foligno were teamed up for the screen in front of the Winnipeg net, battling with the defense for positioning. He worked hard for this one and earned his name on the box score.

Hendricks lined up in this game at center, and was in the starting lineup to take the opening faceoff for the Minnesota Wild. He is expected to be the 13th forward come opening day, but performances like this are what made him a fan favorite in Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Even when Hendricks isn’t dropping the gloves, he finds ways to make himself useful on the ice and contribute in any way possible. He finished the game with zero penalty minutes, and 3 shots on goals.

Hendricks was also among the top penalty killers on the ice for the Wild, he and Marcus Foligno worked together to shut down the Jets powerplay on the consistent parade of Minnesota players taking a seat in the penalty box.

Take this as a good sign that the 37 year old veteran still has plenty left in the tank. He’s a strong addition to the Wild roster, and as long as he can keep playing like this and stay out of taking bad penalties he will be a welcome addition to the undersized Minnesota Wild.