“The Montreal zone is suffering a real infennistation tonight.”
Those are a couple of my tweets from the Montreal game the other night, in which Tyler Ennis skated circles around the Montreal defense. Scoring two goals, he looked unstoppable out there. Uncatchable. Unreal.
His highlight reel goal was the delight of the NHL Internets yesterday:
Oh, you try and find a prettier one than that!
It sure was a dandy, but the entire sequence wasn’t all that pretty. In fact, some of it was downright ugly – but the good kind of ugly – hockey ugly. Gritty.
While the media was swooning over Ennis’ hands, it seemed everyone forgot the rest of the play. (This is actually one of the few Youtube clips that shows the entire play; the NHL.com video cut the very root of this highlight out, as well.) So today, credit where credit is due: let’s talk about Marcus Foligno.
Sure, Ennis’ finish was sweet, but Foligno’s work along the boards at center ice – mostly from on his belly – was Herculean. It should not go without notice that a goal like this would not have happened without some really gutsy efforts by the youngest Foligno. Go ahead and watch the clip again. You’ll only see part of his effort, in one segment, at the 20 second mark.
This was one of those plays that will stand out in my mind from this season as hockey perfection. First of all, Foligno had to use his big bodied determination to fight and sprawl along the boards – a gutsy play – literally – to win that puck. Drew Stafford served as the smart guardian at the blue line – too big to knock over, and quick enough with his hands to dish the biscuit over to the flashy Ennis.
It took the whole mix of all three forwards to put this thing together, and in the end, magic happened.
Just remember, in hockey, seldom does magic happen without a heavy dose of grit in the recipe.
The team is saying a lot of good things in the locker room these days. They’re feeling better, confident again, more of a team. I don’t think we’ve had a play recently that embodied that team attitude better than this one. When we talk #SeedsOfGreatness, this is one of those plays. The Sabres have done a lot of digging to find the grit, smarts, and confidence to wheel, deal, and shoot that darn biscuit into the net. It’s beautiful watching it all come together in one play. It’s encouraging seeing two youngsters and a slumping veteran do all the right things, instantly, with zero hesitation. Confidence is in bloom, folks.
The seeds have been planted. Ennis, Foligno, Stafford, and the rest of the Blue and Gold just need to keep it goin/growin’.
Good job, boys.