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Faceoffs a problem for Isles

Islanders' John Tavares skates against the Buffalo Sabres

Islanders' John Tavares skates against the Buffalo Sabres in the first period of an NHL hockey game at Nassau Coliseum. (Oct. 15, 2013) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Despite his slow start, Casey Cizikas is still the best faceoff-taker on the team, winning 48.9 percent (133 of 267) of his draws entering Saturday night. The Isles as a team entered play on Saturday winning only 44.9 percent of their faceoffs, 29th in the league, ahead of only the Flames.

That’s not a death sentence as far as the postseason is concerned -- the Ducks and Avalanche are in the bottom third of the league on faceoffs, and they’re two of the top three teams in the standings -- but the Isles have lost plenty of key draws.

They are under 50 percent on power-play draws, under 50 percent at home (where the home centerman gets to put his stick down last for an advantage) and John Tavares, who takes the bulk of the Isles draws, has gone from being right around 50 percent or above the last three seasons to winning just 43.1 percent of his draws so far.

New York Sports