Villain to Hero: Nick Foligno's Wild Third Period Against the Hurricanes

By Jacob Nitzberg on January 17, 2020 at 1:45 pm
Jan 16, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) sends the puck past Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek (34) for the game winning goal during the third period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

What a game.

The Blue Jackets took down the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, despite being outshot 34-18 and absorbing pressure from Carolina for most of the night.

With the score knotted at 2-2 in the third period, the Blue Jackets thought they had the lead thanks to a Zach Werenski wrister, but the Hurricanes weren't so sure. They challenged the play for offside, and the referees agreed. 

Nick Foligno was the offender as he skated into the zone just a fraction of a second before the puck got there. It was a big goal, and the Blue Jackets desperately needed the momentum from it because the Hurricanes had dominated most of the game. Despite losing that momentum, the Blue Jackets stood tall behind Elvis Merzlikins and kept the game tied for the next few minutes. 

Then, it was time for Foligno's redemption arc. The captain hadn't scored in 22 straight games, dating all the way back to November 29th. Throughout the Blue Jackets' current 13-2-4 run, just about everyone had stepped up — except the captain. 

Well, that certainly changed. 

With just under two minutes remaining in regulation, Eric Robinson won a board battle along the wall and put enough pressure on Hurricanes center Jordan Staal to cause a turnover in the middle of the Hurricanes' defensive zone. Foligno pounced on the opportunity and uncorked a wrister that beat Petr Mrazek's glove.

The Blue Jackets clung to their lead and were able to hold off the Hurricanes. Celebrations ensued as the clock hit 0.0, and the Blue Jackets earned an incredibly valuable two points from their Metropolitan Division opponents and competitors in the playoff race.

The Blue Jackets are on fire, and it's reflecting in the standings. They'll be back in action tomorrow night against the New Jersey Devils as Foligno and co. look to make it four wins in a row.