Bruins draw confidence from faceoff dominance | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaBruins draw confidence from faceoff dominance

Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 | 11:07 AM

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Patrice Bergeron, left, of the Bruins has earned plaudits throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs for his ability to win key faceoffs. (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) Patrice Bergeron, left, of the Bruins has earned plaudits throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs for his ability to win key faceoffs. (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

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The Boston Bruins are fabulous at faceoffs, especially Patrice Bergeron, who won a mind-boggling 86 per cent of the draws he took in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.

The Boston Bruins are really good at faceoffs. In related news, the sun will come up tomorrow and you will have to pay taxes this year.

I'm clearly not discovering anything we didn't already know. As a team, Boston had the best faceoff percentage in the regular season and you would be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn't want Patrice Bergeron taking a faceoff for all the marbles.

But numbers (good and bad) get placed under a spotlight in the playoffs and what the Bruins did in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final against the Chicago Blackhawks had jaws dropping to the ice. There were 56 faceoffs taken in Game 3 and Boston won 40 of them. Five of the Bruins now rate over 50 per cent in faceoff efficiency in the playoffs: Bergeron, David Krejci, Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and Gregory Campbell.

We all know the importance of winning faceoffs -- you start with the puck, you eliminate possible scoring chances in your own zone, Nicolas Cage and John Travolta, blah, blah, blah -- but if you dominate pretty much any aspect of a hockey game with that kind of success rate, you should bow to the audience.

Speaking of, let Bergeron take centre stage. He was a mind-boggling 86 per cent (24 for 28) from the dot in Game 3. I'd like to point out that we have very good editors who work for CBCSports.ca. So trust me, if that absurd number was a typo, they would have noticed it.

Overall, the Bruins, up 2-1 in the best-of-seven final, have won 56.1 per cent of faceoffs in the playoffs. The last Stanley Cup champion with a faceoff success rate over 55 per cent? The Dallas Stars in 1999, who won 55.6 per cent of draws with six players at 50 per cent or higher (minimum 40 faceoffs):

  1. Joe Nieuwendyk, 59.8%
  2. Mike Modano, 56.6%
  3. Benoit Hogue, 54.6%
  4. Derek Plante, 53.6%
  5. Guy Carbonneau, 51.9%
  6. Brian Skrudland, 50.9%

Do the Bruins' draw takers match up against the '99 Stars? That's up for debate. It should be noted that Nieuwendyk won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP that year and did so not by finishing first in playoff scoring (he was third), but rather with his all-around, Selke Trophy-winning play.

Sound familiar, Patrice?

As Cassie Campbell-Pascall mentioned Tuesday on Hockey Night in Canada Radio on SiriusXM that it would be nice to see someone get rewarded for all-around play in the post-season as opposed to just looking at scoring stats. Settle down, folks. Both Cassie and myself agree what Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has done puts him No. 1 on this year's Smythe list. We're just giving Bergeron some credit here.

Either way, if the Bruins continue to win draws at this rate, I wouldn't be surprised to see the guys in the stripes simply throw the puck to their defencemen instead of bothering with those pesky, time-consuming faceoffs.

Follow Rob Pizzo on Twitter @robpizzo

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