Perhaps no player embodies Columbus’ struggles this season more than Nick Foligno.
Foligno, who parlayed last year’s career-high 31 goals into a pricey extension and the club’s captaincy, has just two through 24 games this season, with the second coming in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Montreal — snapping an ugly 20-game goalless drought in the process.
Now, head coach John Tortorealla hopes that goal will turn Foligno’s season in another direction.
(Which is sort of the same hope Torts has for the entire team.)
“You hope something happens for Nick after he scores a goal,” Tortorella said, per NHL.com. “It comes from within the players. They score a goal, it tends to relax them.
“This happens to a lot of teams. It’s a tough league to score in so you hope they feel good about themselves and make some plays and it goes in the other direction for them as far as confidence-wise.”
Even though some looked at Foligno’s ’14-15 output and screamed “CONTRACT YEAR,” it’s still stunning to see how much his goalscoring has fallen off this season, as his GPG average has gone from 0.39 to 0.08. That puts him on pace for around 6-7 goals, which is basically the same number he scored during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign (six, in 45 games).
Of course, the captain isn’t the only one struggling to score goals.
Brandon Saad hasn’t found the back of the net in seven games. Brandon Dubinsky hasn’t scored in his last five. Matt Calvert, who notched a career-best 13 times last year, has one goal in his last 13 games.
And it doesn’t promise to get any easier for Columbus tonight, either. The Jackets are taking on the Panthers, who’ve won four straight and allowed just five goals over that span.