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Maple Leafs experienced rough night in faceoff circle

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO -- When it comes to winning faceoffs in the NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle insists, "If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying."

That being the case, Toronto's No. 1 center, Tyler Bozak, must have been trying really, really hard Monday night in the Maple Leafs' 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at Air Canada Centre. Bozak, who is the Maple Leafs' best faceoff man, was repeatedly kicked out of the circle by linesmen Shane Heyer and Don Henderson in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

At the end of the night Bozak won 12 of his 29 faceoffs, and the Bruins as a team won 60 percent of the draws.

"It's tough in the game, but it's over now," Bozak said. "Both sides were cheating quite a bit in the circle, and I was getting caught a lot more than they were. There's nothing you can do about it now."

After being kicked out of four straight faceoffs, an exasperated Bozak had an animated conversation with one of the linesmen as he moved to the wing.

"I just wanted to ask him what I needed to change to stay in there a little longer," Bozak said. "They told me I had to get my stick down and stop coming in on the fly. You get away with those things every now and then, and you're going to get kicked out every now and then. I have to be better. I thought the Bruins were doing a pretty good job of cheating near the beginning of the game, so I had to react by cheating back, and it just didn't go my way."

Carlyle said faceoffs are a key part of every hockey game and intimated the home team usually gets a bit of a break from the officials. He confronted the linesmen during the game to see what his players, in particular Bozak, were doing wrong. After watching film of the game he was less than thrilled about how Bozak was treated.

"They told me it is, 'Visitor down, home down, puck down,' but after watching it that didn't seem to be happening," Carlyle said. "In our view, there were things going on out there that we didn't agree with."

Carlyle added he would talk to the League about it, but added there likely will be different linesmen for Game 4 in Toronto on Wednesday.

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