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Maple Leafs accuse Bruins of cheating on faceoffs

Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle is quick to point out perceived slights his team has suffered on faceoffs. file/fred thornhill/reuters

TORONTO — As the Game 3 visitors, the Bruins’ centers should have put down their sticks first before every face­off. Based on watching clips, Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle didn’t believe the Bruins followed the rulebook.

“When you’re at home, you think you would be afforded some of the staples of the opposition having to be down first and stop,” the Toronto coach said after his team’s practice at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday. “In our review, there were some things going on out there that we don’t agree with, as far as forcing the opposition to stop.”

Cheating on the draw is a regular practice. Centers try numerous tricks to snare the puck first off the drop. They lean in against their opponents. They chop at the other pivot’s stick. Instead of putting down their blades and pausing, they swipe at the puck without halting their sticks. (See what the NHL rule book says about faceoffs.)

“When I talked to the official between periods, he stated that it was supposed to be visitor down, home down, puck down,” Carlyle said of each face­off sequence. “That clearly was not happening as per video. So we’ll visit with them and talk about it.”


The Bruins won 45 of 75 faceoffs (60 percent) in their 5-2 victory in Game 3. Rich Peverley led the charge by winning 10 of 11 draws. Claude Julien didn’t think his centers broke any rules in Game 3.

“I’ve looked at the video, too. It is what it is,” the Bruins coach said. “Guys getting kicked out, not getting kicked out. When you lobby for something, it’s because you’re looking for a bit of a break the next game. That’s what Randy’s doing right now. He’s lobbying for some breaks on the faceoffs. It’s going to be interesting to see where the referees and the linesmen do their job next game and not worry about who’s crying wolf.”


Scott Cherrey and Brian Murphy will be the Game 4 linesmen.

In Game 3, linesmen Don Henderson and Shane Heyer repeatedly tossed Tyler Bozak from the circle. Bozak went 12 for 29 (41 percent) on faceoffs. The linesmen told Bozak he was not stopping correctly before the draw.

“It’s tough in the game,” Bozak said. “But it’s over now. It’s part of the game. Both sides were cheating pretty hard in the circle. I was getting caught more than them. There’s nothing you can do about it now. It’s over with.”

Patrice Bergeron is the NHL’s best draw man. Bergeron won 62.1 percent of his faceoffs in the regular season. Bergeron won 12 of 20 draws in Game 3.

“If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying, right? That’s what everybody says,” Bergeron said. “I think that’s what we’re all trying to do. I got kicked out [Monday] a few times as well. Sometimes you anticipate a little too fast when the linesman’s going to drop the puck. You go too fast and you get kicked out. It’s a part of the game.”

Support system

Julien always deploys two centers for defensive-zone faceoffs. For example, if Bergeron’s line goes out for a D-zone draw, Julien will replace Chris Kelly for either Brad Marchand or Tyler Seguin. If Gregory Campbell lines up for a D-zone faceoff, Bergeron will usually replace Shawn Thornton to serve as a second pivot.


But Julien doesn’t have to mix and match centers with his third line because Kelly and Peverley have been excellent on the draw. In Game 3, the left-shot Kelly and right-shot Peverley combined to win 14 of 17 faceoffs in the defensive zone.

“Where it helps us a lot is that I don’t have to send another centerman from another line and get a line change,” Julien said. “That’s the good thing about that line. One’s a righty and one’s a lefty. It doesn’t matter. The first guy starts off on his strong side. If he gets knocked out, the other guy takes it. They’ve very capable of doing that.

“They were both good on the draws last night. That’s a big part of our game too – starting with the puck.”

No Norris for Chara

Zdeno Chara will not win his second Norris Trophy this year. On Tuesday, the NHL announced that P.K. Subban, Kris Letang, and Ryan Suter were the finalists as the league’s best all-around defenseman. Chara won his only Norris in 2008-09. Chara has been a Norris finalist four times. Chara had seven goals and 12 assists in 48 games in the regular season while averaging 24:56 of ice time per outing. In the playoffs, Chara has one assist while averaging 25:39 of ice time per game. Julien has matched Chara against Phil Kessel, who has yet to score an even-strength goal against Chara in his career. “I think it’s pretty obvious how good of a defenseman he is, not just for our team but overall,” Julien said of Chara’s playoff presence. “He’s got so much respect around the league. The coach on the other team is trying to do everything he can to get his best players away from him. That’s the impact and the effect he’s had on this series so far.” . . . In the third period of Game 3, Marchand and Kessel were sent off for matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Carlyle credited Marchand for doing his job of pulling Toronto’s top scorer off the ice. Both continued to chirp each other from their respective boxes. “We were just talking about how the offseason was and stuff like that,” Marchand said . . . Toronto did not make any lineup changes in practice . . . The Bruins held an optional practice. Dougie Hamilton, Aaron Johnson, Carl Soderberg, Kaspars Daugavins, and Jay Pandolfo should be the Game 4 healthy scratches.


Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.