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A winning plan was drawn up

By Jake Seiner,
Globe Correspondent / November 12, 2011

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Any faceoff man will tell you: When you step into the circle, the strategy is dependent upon the situation.

“In the defensive zone, worst case you want a draw, a tie,’’ Gregory Campbell said. “Offensive zone, you’re trying to create offense off the faceoff.’’

The dominant strategy then, is to get the guy most likely to win a draw cleanly on the ice for offensive-zone draws. That’s doubly true if the player in question is one of the team’s skilled centermen.

This week, that’s what coach Claude Julien has done with David Krejci, the team’s top faceoff man among centers this season with a 57.7 percent success rate.

Heading into Monday’s 6-2 win over the Islanders, of all Bruins forwards, Krejci had the lowest percentage of shifts started in the offensive zone. The 25-year-old started 33 shifts in the defensive zone in his first nine games, compared with 25 in the offensive zone.

In games against the Islanders and Oilers, Krejci started 15 shifts with offensive-zone faceoffs, compared with six on defense.

Krejci won 64.5 percent of those faceoffs, including 60 percent in the offensive zone. He and linemates Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton combined for five goals and seven assists in those games.

Some of that has come from Krejci’s success on offensive-zone draws. Johnny Boychuk’s first-period goal in Thursday’s 6-3 win over Edmonton came on a possession started by a Krejci faceoff win over Ryan Smyth in the Oilers’ zone.

At the same time, Krejci and his linemates are more likely to start shifts in the offensive zone when Julien sees them playing well.

“It’s not just a coincidence so much as it’s coaching. It’s a little bit of everything,’’ Julien said. “There’s been nights when David’s struggled on draws. Some games he’s really, really good, like he was [Thursday]. That’s not coincidental, but it goes with David’s game. He was really good skating. He was on top of every aspect of his game.’’

Paille thankful

After taking a slap shot to the face Monday night, Daniel Paille counted his blessings.

“My nose was pretty flat,’’ he said. “I was just relieved. It could’ve been a lot worse.’’

Paille did not practice yesterday at TD Garden, but instead rode a stationary bike. He considers himself day to day, but said it’s doubtful he’ll play tonight against Buffalo.

The Steve Staios slapper that struck Paille didn’t hit him square in the face, but instead slammed into his visor.

Paille said it reaffirmed his choice to opt for the extra protection.

“I always wore one, but was always debating taking it off every so often to see how it’d feel,’’ he said. “A game like that makes me wonder; glad I kept it on.’’

Ference out

Defenseman Andrew Ference will miss tonight’s game because of a lower-body injury suffered during the second period Thursday night. Steven Kampfer will play in his place . . . Rich Peverley practiced again, but still considers himself day to day. If Peverley can’t go tonight, Zach Hamill will again skate in his place.

Jake Seiner can be reached at

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