Faceoffs can provide a big lift in the NHL playoffs

CHICAGO (AP) Faceoffs can provide a big lift in the NHL playoffs.

Three of the top four teams in faceoff percentage in the first round of this year's playoffs won their series.

Washington coach Barry Trotz says faceoffs are overlooked, given how important it is to control the puck. The Capitals won an NHL-best 56 percent of their draws in the first round against the New York Islanders.

Besides the value of possession, which NHL teams appreciate more than ever in the league's golden age of statistical analysis, Capitals center Brooks Laich said there is a cumulative effect. He says owning the puck wears out opponents and keeps them from getting rolling on offense.

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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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