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Foligno: "We need to be better"

by Craig Merz / Columbus Blue Jackets

Opposites will attract when the Dallas Stars play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday at Nationwide Arena.

The Stars (27-7-3) have 57 points to lead the NHL and are 4-0-1 in their past five games. Columbus' 29 points are the fewest in the League and the Blue Jackets (13-22-3) have lost three straight and have two wins in 10 games.

Returning after a three-game absence from a lower body injury will be first-year captain Nick Foligno, among those who had their leadership skills questioned by coach John Tortorella.

"I have a belief in myself and in the leadership group in here that may be a little bit different than what they're thinking, but the results are what they are," Foligno said after the morning skate.

"Obviously we need to be better. It's about going about it the right way and not getting down on yourself and understanding the values and the things you can bring. I'm just trying to get better and learn every day."

The added responsibility of wearing the "C" this season may be taking a toll on Foligno, who has five goals in 35 games after a career-high 31 last season.

He is one of many underachievers Tortorella is trying to figure out since he replaced Todd Richards on Oct. 21.

Another is Ryan Johansen (6-18-24). The 2015 NHL All-Star Game MVP was benched for the third period against Dallas in a 5-1 loss on Dec. 15. Tortorella made him a healthy scratch the next game and Johansen sat the final 10 minutes against the Florida Panthers on Sunday.

Monday, Johansen was on the fourth line in practice, but that is subject to change with Foligno replacing David Clarkson.

Tortorella blames himself in part for not getting more from Johansen.

"I have to take a little responsibility there," Tortorella said, "and not just with Ryan, but with a number of players I don't think I've done a good enough job of developing them and trying to get them to be the best they can be."

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