GOAL OF THE YEAR: QUARTERFINAL #2
Marcus Foligno takes on Jordan Leopold in the second quarterfinal match-up.
#2: MARCUS FOLIGNO VS. COLORADO AVALANCHE
When Marcus Foligno made his NHL debut with the Sabres in Ottawa in December, one of the first questions he was asked was: “Will you do ‘the jump’ when you score your first goal?” Of course, every Sabres fan knows ‘the jump’ refers to leap his father, Mike, made famous during his NHL career. But there was one problem: when Marcus finally scored his first NHL goal on March 10 in Ottawa, there was some confusion as to who actually touched the puck last, so a jump never took place. Marcus got his chance four nights later in front of the home crowd with Colorado in town. But this was no thing of beauty either. Drew Stafford carried the puck over the line, and fed a streaking Tyler Ennis, who hit Foligno with a pass in the slot as he was driving to the net. But the puck banked in off his skate and crossed the line just before he did while sliding past Semyon Varlamov. Foligno’s long-awaited jump followed immediately afterwards in the corner to the left of the Colorado net. “It felt really good. I think the fans enjoyed it and it was great to get that out of the way,” Foligno said after the game. “I had it on my mind for awhile so it's great to finally do it.”
#7: JORDAN LEOPOLD VS. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
There’s an old adage in hockey that says ‘keep playing until you hear the whistle go.’ Well that’s exactly what the Buffalo Sabres did in the final two minutes of a must-win game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 3 at First Niagara Center. With the Maple Leafs up 5-4, Tyler Ennis lost a faceoff to Matthew Lombardi to the left of the Toronto goal, but Marcus Foligno jumped on the loose puck behind the net. He darted out in front and had his initial shot stopped by Ben Scrivens. But the rebound stayed in the crease, and both teams converged on the loose puck. Foligno was now flat on his back digging at the puck with Toronto’s Mike Komisarek pinning him down and repeatedly banging his head off the ice. Meanwhile, Ennis and Jordan Leopold continued to jam away in front for almost 10 full seconds. With referee Mike Hasenfratz standing watch intently over this disheveled mass of humanity, Leopold’s final dig at the puck made its way over the goalline and sent the sold-out crowd of 18,690 into a frenzy with just 1:53 left in the game.