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Rookie Foligno impresses Senators' brass in 5-3 win over Capitals

NHL.com @NHL

OTTAWA - Rookie Nick Foligno continues to build a strong case for his inclusion in the Ottawa Senators' lineup when the regular season begins.

Foligno, the son of longtime NHL player Mike Foligno, scored a nifty goal and later set up Chris Kelly's eventual winner Thursday night in a 5-4 exhibition victory over the Washington Capitals.

The 19-year-old right-winger now has two goals and three assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-3 through the Senators' first two pre-season games, both wins.

"It feels good to be constructive out there and produce," Foligno said. "I know it's kind of my job to make sure I'm just going as hard as possible every shift and that's something I want to do and try to maintain throughout the rest of this exhibition series."

With few roster spots open in training camp, Foligno is being given a chance to crack the team's roster after graduating from the Ontario Hockey League's Sudbury Wolves.

Earlier in training camp, Senators coach John Paddock bluntly told reporters that he was less than impressed with Foligno after the opening days of camp and wanted to see more out of the player born in Buffalo, N.Y.

Foligno responded with a goal and an assist in Ottawa's 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and shone again Thursday.

"I wanted to produce and do a lot better than I was," he said. "It's great that they cared that much to tell me and let me know and I feel like I answered the bell and hopefully I can keep moving on and getting better as the game's go on."

The Senators fell behind the Capitals 3-1, but rallied on goals from Jason Spezza and Foligno to tie it and eventually went ahead 5-3 on goals 1:49 apart from Dany Heatley and Kelly early in the third.

Spezza also added an assist and Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist, too.

Free-agent signing Tom Poti and Tomas Fleischmann each had a goal and an assist for the Capitals (0-1-1) and Chris Clark and Alexander Ovechkin also scored.

Martin Gerber started in goal for Ottawa and gave up three goals on 18 shots and rookie Brian Elliott stopped 13 of 14 the rest of the way to earn the win.

Olaf Kolzig played the full game for Washington and made 25 saves.

Foligno beat him for the goal of the night in the second period when he took a pass from Christoph Schubert and, one-on-one with Kolzig, pulled the puck to his backhand and lifted high over the goaltender's glove.

The effort left Paddock pleased with what he saw.

"Tonight, with probably less ice time (than the first game), he managed that well," Paddock said. "He came out and he really kept the game simple and he happened to get rewarded being in the right place at the right time and he made a good play to Kelly."

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