Nick Foligno has not historically been an Art Ross frontrunner, but he also has not been the type of player who needs 19 games to get his first goal of a season.
He finally removed the proverbial monkey off his back Saturday, scoring in the Boston Bruins’ comeback victory over the Buffalo Sabres. While there have been plenty of games where Foligno had found some way to be impactful, he had entered Saturday with just four assists and no goals in 18 games.
The 34-year-old, who signed a two-year deal with the Bruins in the offseason, admitted that the drought was weighing on him, for one particular season.
“It’s the mental side of the game, right?” said in a pregame interview with NESN’s Sophia Jurksztowicz during “Bruins Face-Off Live” on Sunday. “When you go through those little slumps, I think what bothers you the most is as much as your teammates are cheering you on, they see it too. And we want people to do well, and you’re wishing the best for your teammates. So, sometimes you get a little self-conscious as a teammate that they’re thinking about you and they want it so bad for you and you can’t seem to deliver.
“It was a lot of fun in the huddle yesterday, we were all screaming and yelling,” Foligno continued. “That makes you feel good that these guys care so much about you, because I care a lot about them. It’s really nice to be able to get that goal for them, and hopefully there’s many more to come.”
Foligno is a microcosm of what has at times felled Boston this season. The Bruins, as has long been the case, have been able to lean on their top dogs to score routinely, but it’s been those depth players who they haven’t gotten enough from.
It was apparent Saturday how dangerous a team the Bruins can be when guys like Foligno, Taylor Hall and Craig Smith begin to get going.
“You saw last night, not even my goal, but some of the guys that contributed yesterday — Craig Smith and Taylor Hall — that’s big,” Foligno said. “We want to be players that help (Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak) and allow our team to really come to life. That’s a big reason we won yesterday.”
Foligno and the Bruins will look to build off Saturday’s result when they face the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. Puck drop from Little Caesars Arena is set for 1 p.m. ET on NESN.