Foligno leads the way as Senators snap skid against Leafs

Nick Foligno showed some guts and skated away with the glory.

Foligno leads the way as Senators snap skid against Leafs
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Nick Foligno showed some guts and skated away with the glory.

The Ottawa Senators’ young veteran took one for the team Saturday night, drawing a lengthy five-on-three power play after Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phillippe Dupuis smacked him in the nose with his stick.

Then Foligno, still dripping blood, beat Toronto goalie Ben Scrivens on a breakaway to give the Senators (8-9-0-1) their first lead of the night in an eventual 5-2 victory.

It was a fitting goal for the annual Hockey Hall of Fame Game, which honoured one of the grittiest Leafs of all time, Doug Gilmour, before puck drop.

As if that wasn’t enough, Foligno added an empty-netter with 1:07 left to make it 4-2 and put an end to one last Toronto (10-6-1-0) surge.

Those two goals took a little of the sting away.

“I was excited (to get right back on the ice), the adrenalin was pumping and I wanted to get right back out there,” Folingo said with a laugh. “It was a nice pass by Erik (Karlsson) to give me that breakaway and I was just happy to make good on in.”

Senators coach Paul MacLean joked that the hockey gods had a way of evening things out, but in truth, this game was more about effort than divine intervention.

“I thought our competitive level rose as the game went on,” MacLean said.

“That was something we asked of our team and it was good to see.”

Sergei Gonchar and Zack Smith also beat Scrivens, while Milan Michalek (with his 11th) added the second empty-netter of the evening.

Turns out all the Senators needed to bookend their trying five-game losing streak was another contest against the Leafs.

Ottawa, which hadn’t tasted victory since edging the Toronto 3-2 on Oct. 30, took advantage of the Buds again to climb back into the win column.

Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul were the only Leafs to beat goalie Craig Anderson on this night.

The Senators were in desperate need of a bounce-back game from their No. 1 netminder, who got the hook just 2:25 in to Ottawa’s 5-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres the night before.

They got it.

Anderson was great when he needed to be, flashing out his glove and blocker to take away the type of high shots that had been going in with ease lately. He finished with 31 saves, including 15 in the third period.

Anderson said it was great vote of confidence that the coach put him right back in after a tough outing in Buffalo.

“It’s a huge emotional lift knowing that he’s got confidence in me and that just makes my confidence go higher and higher.”

While the Leafs eventually poured on the pressure, the first period passed with very little activity. Neither team generated anything resembling a real scoring chance in the first 15 minutes or so.

Bozak finally got on the scoresheet at the 17:18 mark, when he wristed a puck into the top corner over Anderson’s blocker. The Ottawa keeper didn’t appear to get a good look at the shot as centre Stéphane Da Costa’s block attempt turned into an effective screen.

Kessel picked up an assist on the play, which seemed like a bad omen for Ottawa. Although he’s known primarily as a sniper, the Leafs hadn’t lost (9-0-0) this season when he had a helper. Make it 9-1.

Tags: ,

What do you think? Leave a comment