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Chris Drury

FACING OFF- BUFFALO’S CHRIS DRURY

In the NHL, Buffalo’s Chris Drury is known as a go-to guy. He has an even dozen game winning goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In seven years he’s played 71 or more games per regular season, nothing 53 or more points in 5 of those seasons.

This year, his second season with the Sabres, he knocked in 30 goals and 37 assists for 67 points while playing 81 games. Along with those very fine numbers, Drury has one other impressive stat—FOW (Face-Offs Won). Some centers, like San Jose’s Joe Thorton and Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour, excel in this area. In the 2005-06 season, Drury was third in FOW with 911. He was topped by only by Brind’Amour (1268 FOW) and Thorton (922 FOW).

In the playoffs against Philadelphia and Ottawa, Drury has been hard-nosed, quick and tough. In eleven games, he’s won 139 face-offs, making him second only to Brind’Amour, who has won 151 face-offs in 10 games. In an area that is often overlooked, Drury has dominated his Stanley Cup opponents and that translates into puck control and more chances to shoot and score.

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Of course, he can score too. Thus far in this year’s playoffs, his six goals tie him for third with four other players and his seven assists tie him for fourth with two others. He is one of four players with 13 points, tying him for third.

What makes Drury special is that of all of the players with stats in the categories of goals, assists, points and face-offs won, he’s the only one to appear in the top four or better in each of those areas. That makes Drury a rare center. One who can consistently beat you in the face-off circle, set up a scoring opportunity and put the puck in the net. Watch out for Drury in the next round!

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