The Bruins have been great all season long at the face-off dot, but in their Stanley Cup Final Game 3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, they were nearly perfect. The Bruins finished the night 40-for-56 at the face-off dot in a game that the Bruins dominated from start to finish.
As usual Patrice Bergeron led the way winning 24 of 28 face-offs. Bergeron now has a 62.7% face-off percentage in 19 playoff games which is good enough to lead all playoff forwards. The former Selke winner won eight of ten face-offs against Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews, the man that narrowly edged him for this years’ Selke trophy as the league’s best defensive forward.
“It is definitely something we take a lot of pride in,” Bergeron said
“We talk about it a lot and we have some very good centermen. It is not just about the four centers on the ice. It is about everybody chipping in and helping and winning those battles.”
The Bruins had a very successful night from a special teams standpoint as Bergeron scored on the power play, and the Bruins killed off all five of the Blackhawks’ power plays. A big reason as to why they were so successful on special teams was their faceoff success on both the power play and penalty kill. The faceoff wins gave them puck possession which led to scoring chances and on the penalty kill the chance to clear the puck out of the zone, something the Bruins did with ease throughout the game.
The Bruins were 12-for-14 on special teams’ face-offs, an 86% success rate.
“You can talk about that [face-offs] and our power play” said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. “Those were basically the differentials in the game.”
Third line center Chris Kelly—who registered his second point in as many games in Game 3—won 8-of-11 face-offs including all five he took against Blackhawks’ center Dave Bolland.
“I thought we did a better job bearing down on those face-offs” said Kelly. Obviously face-offs are an important part of the game as you either start with the puck or start defending.”
David Krejci was the only Bruins Center who lost more face-offs then he won as the playoffs’ points leader was 4-for-9 at face-offs. Fourth line center Rich Peverley went 4-for-6 on his draws.
From a Blackhawks’ standpoint their face-off numbers were clearly bad, and the blame can certainly be pointed towards the Hawks top three face-off guys Toews, Michal Handzus and Bolland as the trio combined for just nine face-off wins in 37 tries. Eight of those wins came from Toews.
The Bruins will look to build on their face-off success and try to take a huge three games to one series lead on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.