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BLOG: Nugent-Hopkins talks faceoffs

The Oilers are squaring up against one of the best faceoff teams in the NHL

by Paul Gazzola /

Winning draws against a premier faceoff team in the National Hockey League - the Anaheim Ducks - is not an easy task. The Ducks were No. 1 in the circle during the regular season with a 54.7 faceoff percentage. In the post-season, Anaheim is second behind the eliminated Minnesota Wild with a 56 percent success rate.

Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins spoke about faceoffs after practice Tuesday.

Video: PRACTICE RAW | Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

"It's a lot on the centres," Nugent-Hopkins said. "We want to be snapping them back as much as possible but it's a five-man thing out there. We all know that."

The Oilers have plans in place for certain situations off a faceoff.

"We always have a plan," said the Oilers centre. "If you lose a draw, there's still a plan in place so you got to stick with that and sometimes if you're not feeling good, the wingers will be just going through hard on the draws that you lose and end up getting the puck back anyways. Sometimes that works out."

In the 2016-17 post-season, Leon Draisaitl leads all Oilers centres with a 52.4 percentage in the circle. Mark Letestu is 46.6 percent, Nugent-Hopkins 42.1 and David Desharnais has a 41.4 percentage. Connor McDavid has won 19 of 57 draws these playoffs.

"This season, our group as a whole weren't great in the faceoff circle but we found a way to win," said Nugent-Hopkins. "I don't think it held us back too much but it would be nice to come out 50-50."

As for who he looks up to around the League in regards to draws, Nugent-Hopkins mentioned Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks pivot Jonathan Toews.

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