Nick Foligno was absolutely convinced he was in the right when David Krejci’s game-tying goal was initially waved off on Friday for goalie interference. But he’s made his living in front of the net long enough to know that once it goes to the video review, it’s a toss-up.
“I had Jake DeBrusk in my ear, and I had to laugh. He’s like ‘The longer it goes, the better for us.’ So I was like,’Yeah, I like you’re thinking,’” said a chuckling Foligno on Saturday.
The officials did, of course, overturn the original all of no-goal and the B’s eventually beat the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime in one of the toughest wins of the 18-3 Bruins’ season.
Foligno wishes that refs would err on the side of calling it a goal and let the other team challenge it simply because he believes it’s easier to see if there was interference upon review than to essentially prove a negative that there was no interference. Whether that’s true or not, he had to sit through some nervous minutes as his case adjudicated.
“And that’s not a knock on the league. There are just so many variations, unfortunately and interpretations of the rule sometimes,” said Foligno. “That’s what drives you nuts. You’re never quite sure how it’s going to go from (the league offices in) Toronto. Those are two good refs we had (Francis Charron, who waved off the goal, and Chris Rooney) and it’s not a knock them. It’s just that you don’t know what the interpretation is going to be. I’ve seen some crazy ones at times, so that’s why I was pretty adamant that that one was a good goal. You get disappointed because it’s important that we get the calls right. And guys who play at the front of the net like I do, you never want to put your team in a spot like that, so we really try to be cognizant of that. And it was a big goal in the game.”
Just 21 games into the season, Foligno’s 4-8-12 totals are just one point shy of his his point total last year in 64 games. A big part of his renaissance this year has been his work at the top of the crease on the second power-play unit as well as simply going into the hard ice on 5-on-5 play. His point total doesn’t tell the full story of his impact.
Willingness to go there and stay there is a big part of his proficiency.
“It’s being a distraction, obviously. It’s an important spot,” said Foligno. “A lot of the goals are scored as a result of someone being in front. The goalies are so good now, so if you don’t have someone there to distract or at least make them think they have to get the rebound perfectly as could be and there’s something laying around, it makes a big difference in the game. There’s a price to pay for being there,but it’s a place that a lot of guys are willing to go because you get a lot of success there. There are a lot of opportunities to bat it in or make plays off of it. I enjoy that. I relish that. I also think it gets you into the battle early in games. Your compete level goes up because you have to get in front of the net, you’re fighting for space, and it’s a big part of good teams’ success.”
But it’s more than just being a bull who is hard to move off the crease area. The job now requires mobility. On Krejci’s equalizer, Foligno had hustled into the corner for a loose puck and poked it up to Pavel Zacha to keep the play alive before sprinting back to the top of the crease.
“I think his understanding of how a power-play works to have success” sets Foligno apart,” said coach Jim Montgomery. “When to be at the net front. When to drop off…Those kind of plays are at a high level. And the other part is recovering pucks. He’s really heavy on pucks. He gets a body on the person trying to clear, which buys us time to get a second guy in there and maintain O-zone possession time.”…
If you only looked at Brad Marchand’s stat line, you’d think he’d be happy with himself. Since returning from double hip surgery, he’s got 6-11-17 totals in 13 games. But only five of those 17 points have come at even strength. In Marchand’s typically clear-eyed estimation, he’s got a long way to go to be on top of his game.
“I haven’t played very well,” said Marchand. “I think I had a lot of excitement that first game against Detroit (when we had 2-1-3). I played on a lot of adrenaline. But it’s been kind of downhill since then. I still have to get my conditioning up to where it needs to be to play at the level I need to play at, which I knew. I knew it was going to be a work in progress and that was part of why I wanted to come back early. If I came back at the end of November, it would take till January or February to feel good and get back to my game. But it’s hard to gain steps on guys when we play every day. Until I’m able to do a little more, I’ll be slowly climbing. It’s a work in progress, which I knew. But I haven’t been great with my details and my conditioning and I’m losing a lot battles which I don’t typically lose and I’m getting pushed off pucks late in games where I can typically hold a guy off. It’s all things I knew coming into the year that taking four months off for me and how I typically train and skate in the summertime, I knew it was going to be a while till I get back to that level.”…
Montgomery declared Linus Ullmark,Trent Frederic and Craig Smith – all out with upper body injuries – as day-to-day.
“No one has received bad news, which is good, but how quickly they’re going to be back, we don’t know,” said Montgomery.
Frederic, who was knocked out of Monday’s game in Tampa with an apparent shoulder injury, was the only one of the three to skate, which he did after the team practiced.
Derek Forbort, meanwhile, is eligible to come off LTIR for Saturday’s game against Colorado and Montgomery said he’d be surprised if he and his surgically repaired finger are not ready by then. That would precipitate some kind of cap-clearing move. He as been practicing with the team.