Marcus Foligno had four shots last game. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Marcus Foligno finally possesses shoot-first mentality

OTTAWA – It was almost a year ago, around the time, not coincidentally, Marcus Foligno began the most consistent stretch of his career, that the Buffalo Sabres winger finally developed a shoot-first mentality.

By the end of 2015-16, Foligno had pumped a career-high 81 shots on goal. Considering he registered only nine shots in his first 20 games, the number was significant.

These days, Foligno’s consistently shooting the puck. No, he’s not exactly Alex Ovechkin. Still, Foligno has 13 shots in 10 games entering tonight’s tilt against the Senators. He had four shots in Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Toronto, scoring the Sabres’ only goal.

“I’m just trying to get the shot off,” Foligno said. “That’s something I was harped on a little bit. Coming over the blue line, there’s no bad shot getting a shot on net. You never know what’s going to happen. So sometimes you’re a little bit stubborn, you want to look to pass before shooting or you don’t feel comfortable in a certain position. I really do emphasize on shooting this year.”

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma urged the 6-foot-3, 228-pound Foligno to utilize his underrated shot last season. When Foligno gets off his game, Bylsma said, he “tends to fight” the shoot-first mentality.

“When he’s on his game he has that shoot-first mentality … he’s getting chances and shots like he did (Thursday) around the net, second-chances opportunities,” Bylsma said.

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