It was a convincing win for Team Foligno at the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition, but captain Nick Foligno knows this is far, far from over.
“We’re confident and not cocky,” Foligno said after his team’s 25-19 win. “We’ve got a big job to do tomorrow and I’m really proud of the guys today.”
At one point, the scoreboard read 15-2 in favor of Foligno’s squad but the show-ending Discover Shootout brought the final tally much closer, and there was even a little suspense at the end as the goalies had to come up with big saves for their teams. At the end of a frantic finish, it was the home team drawing first blood on the weekend.
“It was a heck of a win,” Foligno said, attempting a straight face before breaking out into laughter. “We had a blast. I wasn't really sure how it was going to go but we got out to a big lead and they climbed back in the those breakaways. I hate those breakaways. It was a fun…a lot of fun, for sure.”
The All-Stars gave the fans at Nationwide Arena quite the show, beginning with the Bridgestone Fastest Skater competition (a 5-0 rout for Team Foligno) followed by the Honda Breakaway Challenge, where Twitter vote winner Ryan Johansen stole the show with some serious creativity to rev up the home crowd.
His first attempt was a tip of the cap to the national champion Ohio State Buckeyes, fresh off a College Football Playoff win over Oregon and a championship celebration earlier Saturday up the road at Ohio Stadium. Before taking his first attempt, Johansen shed his Blue Jackets jersey and revealed a red No. 5 Buckeyes jersey to a raucous cheer from the crowd - but he wasn’t done there.
Johansen won the fans over with his second go-round, getting a helping hand from seven-year-old Cole Vogt, son of Blue Jackets athletic trainer Mike Vogt. Cole and Johansen took care of the second try, scoring five-hole on Blues goaltender Brian Elliott and taking a commanding lead with #NHLBreakawayJohansen trending for a second time this week.
After a hilarious response by Jake Voracek in which he used Flames rookie Johnny Gaudreau as his “kid,” Johansen sealed the deal by utilizing some of his Team Foligno teammates to form a “Flying V” that was the icing on the cake.
“With the OSU (jersey) it was kind of a no-brainer for me, living here and going through that experience watching them win the championship,” Johansen said. “That was pretty cool; I had a jersey at home and figured I’d throw it on and just have some fun with that. I thought it would be cool to get (Mike Vogt’s) son out there and give him a memory that he’ll look back at and think is pretty cool.
Foligno interjected: “He’ll be the talk of the town in school.”
“The third one was kind of an on-the-spot thing and we thought we’d try an old school Flying V,” Johansen said. “Jake’s was awesome; (Foligno mentioned) that I should go and grab Byfuglien after that and try to carry him.”
Foligno attempted his best Todd Richards impression when asked what the game plan was for Team Foligno during the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, taking place right back at Nationwide Arena on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET (aired live on NBC Sports Network).
“I was proud of all the guys. They worked hard,” Foligno said. “We studied hard for about 21 minutes before that draft to make sure we got the right guys. I told the guys: make sure you get your rest tonight, come hydrated and make sure we’re working hard.
“That’s pretty much what this All-Star Game is about - we want to dump pucks, make sure we’re working the walls well and make sure we’re getting lots of shots on net. That’ll be the message we send tomorrow with Darryl and make sure the guys are ready to go.”