Nick Foligno says Blue Jackets are committed to playoff-style hockey every game
MAR 15, 2014 11:54a ET
It's been a little harder to notice Nick Foligno lately. Not that the Blue Jackets winger hasn't been making big plays, mind you. It's just that he hasn't been on his skates when he's made those plays.
In the Columbus win over Detroit Tuesday, Foligno scored that huge first-period goal to tie the Red Wings 1-1 after Detroit seemed ready to take over the game. He swept the puck into the net past Petr Mrazek on a second attempt, while lying on his stomach in the low slot.
In the slot again on Thursday, Foligno battled for a puck while on his knees. Then he worked it free for a quick touch from Boone Jenner to Ryan Johansen, who scored the goal that gave Columbus a 1-0 lead over San Jose.
Foligno admits it's a lot of fun to be a guy contributing on a team that relies on contributions throughout the lineup to generate its success.
"For sure, you want to help. You want to be a guy that's contributing, whether it's on the score sheet or not, you want to make a difference on the team, and I think every guy feels that way. That's been the reason for our success -- every guy is pitching in, and it's been a lot of fun."
It's Foligno's second season with the team, and the script has been similar in both years. Just as they were last season, the Blue Jackets are in the middle of a torrid battle for the playoffs. Foligno believes everyone in the locker room is focused on the post-season and bringing the intensity it's going to take to get there.
"We're proud of the way we're playing," he said. "We're doing a lot of good things and have put ourselves in a good position. But we know the job's not done, and I think guys are really committed. I feel as though it's the same way as last year, with the drive and the determination and the focus we have in this locker room right now. It's translating well on the ice.
"I really like the way we're focused before games," the Buffalo native continued. "You have that feeling in here that we understand what needs to be done, and the guys are so committed and focused on that job. It's a good feeling every time you step out on the ice. I'm really proud of how we've handled this stretch, but -- as I said -- the job's not done. There's a long way to go, but if we keep with this mentality, I think we're going to like our chances of getting into the playoffs and then hopefully winning the Stanley Cup."
While there was some ridicule about the Eastern Conference in general and the Metropolitan Division in particular earlier this season, that hasn't been the case in the second-half. Several teams in the East have produced excellent results over the past few months, and that has ramped up the pressure of the playoff chase.
"The standings change every day," Foligno noted. "It's unbelievable, and you want to keep pace, and you want to distance yourself from teams. I think it's definitely made us focus more and make sure we're on top of our game, because every game and every shift count. I think all the teams around us are feeling the same way, so we have to make sure we're keeping pace and doing the things necessary to win games."
And that would include making plays from every conceivable position on the ice, stomach, knees, whatever. Heck, Foligno will probably make a highlight play while on his skates real soon. He's certainly trending that way.