The NHL has a long history of brothers making their way in the league, following each other to hockey stardom. Recently, Marcus Foligno solidified his spot in the Buffalo Sabres lineup and has added his family name to the list of accomplished brother tandems to suit up in the show.

The younger brother of Ottawa Senators forward Nick, Marcus has quickly established himself as a key component of the Sabres' late-season push towards the Eastern Conference playoffs and has been responsible for providing a spark that is helping the Buffalo boys live up to their early-season expectations and show that if you get hot at the right time of year, you can be a dangerous opponent for everyone down the stretch.

After playing junior hockey in his hometown of Sudbury and establishing himself as a physical and offensively gifted player, Marcus began the season in Rochester with the Sabres AHL affiliate. After a couple of trips up to the big club, he began to firmly entrench himself in the Sabres lineup and build chemistry with teammates while finding his way onto the scoresheet on a more regular basis.

Marcus’ recent offensive surge has coincided with the Sabres' climb up the standings, putting themselves in a position to have a shot at the playoffs—a place where Marcus could potentially find himself facing off against his brother at some point.

  • Marcus has been sharp for the Sabres lately, recording eight points in the past seven games, including five goals in that span.
  • After starting the season in Rochester, Marcus’ tenacious and dedicated play saw him called up to Buffalo where he has been scoring at a point-per-game pace so far early in his NHL career, and it appears as if he will be sticking around for the remainder of the year.
  • Marcus mimicked his dad recently, (former NHLPA member Mike Foligno), doing the famous ‘Foligno Leap’ after scoring a goal for the Sabres.
Biography
  • Born in Buffalo, New York, USA on August 10, 1991.
  • Drafted in the fourth round, 104th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Honed his skills in junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sudbury Wolves.  
  • Represented Canada internationally at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships, capturing a silver medal.

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Rookie Marcus Foligno, son of former Sabre Mike Foligno, scored his first NHL goal on Saturday in the Buffalo Sabres' 4-3 shootout win over Ottawa Senators.

Foligno’s tally tied the game at 3-3 with 5:54 left in regulation.

Just as important as his timely goal was Foligno showing his willingness to play a physical style.

Some in the media have speculated that the Sabres felt Foligno was ready to provide that power-forward type of role, which made Zack Kassian expendable.

"It was better timing than anything. Hard work paid off there," Foligno told the Buffalo News. "I got a lucky bounce and I was really happy to tie the game up for the guys and really happy to contribute. I was hoping I could score. Whenever you could contribute like that, it's huge."

Interestingly, Foligno's brother, Nick, was in the game for Ottawa and was able to see his brother's first career tally. 

Nick Foligno's reaction to the goal: "I was happy and [ticked] off at the same time."

Marcus Foligno will try and stick with the Sabres the rest of the stretch run and avoid a demotion to the AHL's Rochester Americans, where he had 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points.

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Monday evening's four NHL games all carried playoff implications, with six of the eight teams either jockeying for better playoff positioning or battling to be included in the second season. 

Here are the top-three highlights from a light schedule of hockey games:

1. Sabres Defeat Canadiens 3-2 (OT), Gain Critical Playoff Ground

It seemed impossible earlier this season, but the surging Sabres are finding ways to win hockey games and hover around the eight seed in the Eastern Conference.

Tyler Myers' game winning goal 2:59 into overtime Monday night brought the Sabres' point total to 74, jumping ahead of Winnipeg and now just two points behind Washington for the last remaining playoff spot in the East.

Tyler Ennis scored both of the Sabres' goals in regulation, set up by Drew Stafford on both occasions.

2. Landeskog's Effort the Difference Against Ducks

Avalanche rookie Gabriel Landeskog set the tone early with a crushing hit on Ducks defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky and sniped the game winner at the 1:52 mark of overtime to keep Colorado as the eight seed in the West.

Landeskog, the 19-year-old Swedish forward, scored his 19th goal of the season last night and now stands at 44 points on the season. He's tied with Philadelphia's Matt Read for the most goals among rookies and is just two points behind New Jersey's Adam Henrique for the most points among all first-year players.

Interestingly enough, Landeskog is taking a page out of Alexander Ovechkin's book and leads all Colorado forwards in hits this season, as well.

3. Sharks Not Willing to Go Away

San Jose snapped a brutal five-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Oilers in Edmonton on Monday night. The Sharks got power play goals from Joe Thornton and Logan Couture and an even-strength tally from Torrey Mitchell to edge the Oilers.

With those two points, the Sharks sit just one point behind the aforementioned Avalanche for the last ticket into the playoffs. San Jose still has 14 games remaining, all but one of which are against Western Conference teams, including three vital matchups against the Los Angeles Kings, who sit in 11th place in the standings.

 

Ryan O'Leary is a writer and researcher for Bleacher Report's Video Production Department with seven years experience in the sports industry. Ryan covered the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Hockey Tournament with CTV and has spent time covering the IIHF World Championships, NHL and Collegiate Hockey during his career.

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It's still early in evening and only one of four NHL games are yet to be in the books. However, I am pretty sure we already saw the goal of the night by the Buffalo Sabres' No. 63, forward Tyler Ennis.

Ennis picks up a loose puck off the stick of Drew Stafford with speed and enters the Montreal Canadiens zone. He then shakes Canadien defenseman Andrei Markov out of his hockey pants and does the same to goaltender Peter Budaj.

It will be hard to find more than a handful of better goals all season long than Ennis' Monday night.

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This Sabres' team is enigmatic, to say the least. The first half of the year was worst than the fans are accustomed to and the slump went well into 2012.

Now, the team has turned a corner and the Sabres have re-embodied their warrior spirit and are toiling powerfully towards the playoffs. 

They currently sit at 11th place in the Eastern Conference just three points out of the playoffs.

For the average fan, all of this is good news and the team couldn't have kicked it into gear at a better time of the year. However, this can be more damaging for the team in the long run.

Teams like the Edmonton Oilers that make Cinderella runs for the Stanley Cup Finals, like the one in 2005-2006, usually end up pretty far down the standings less than a decade later.

The Sabres have been a fringe team for the better part of the last decade and the franchise hasn't reached the finals since the whole Brett Hull debacle. 

To win now further delays the process of rebuilding that this franchise needs in order to crack the top echelon of the NHL, something that new owner Terry Pegula is adamant about.

Here are four reasons why the Sabres are winning at the wrong time.

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