Foligno, just four games into his career, has wowed fans. Stafford could finally be busting out after five miserable months.
But the 5-foot-9, 157-pound Ennis, who had three assists in Wednesday’s 5-4 shootout loss to Colorado, is the engine that drives the line.
“Ennis is just a water bug out there,” Foligno said. “If you give him the puck, he’s going to make plays. I mean, the biggest thing is when he has the puck you have to catch up to his speed. He’s going to catch guys coming late and make pretty good plays.”
Foligno added: “There’s little holes that only open for a couple seconds and he puts it right in those holes. He can sauce pass over guys’ sticks. … That’s why he’s so crucial to our team. He’s lethal when he’s out there.”
Ennis wasn’t making many lethal plays earlier this season. Fresh off a remarkably steady 20-goal, 49-point rookie campaign in which he played all 82 games, he went pointless in October.
In his seventh scoreless game Oct. 22 in Tampa Bay, Ennis sprained his ankle badly when he slammed into the post. Ennis missed 17 games, his first significant injury ever.
So much for that indestructible feeling he once possessed.
“I would play kind of reckless,” Ennis said. “For a small guy, (I would) still battle and go into the corner hard. I would get little dings and bruises and stuff. But I’ve never really experienced any long-term injuries. I felt like I was not able to get injured. All that changed when I went into the post.”
So has Ennis changed his aggressive style?
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think I just got to play the same way. I can’t change my game. I’ve been doing this my whole life, kind of playing this way. I can’t change because of one little injury.”