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NHL PLAYER, Phil Kessel

BIOGRAPHY

Born Oct 02, 1987 -- Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Selected by Boston Bruins round 1 #5 overall 2006 NHL Entry Draft

Philip Joseph Kessel, Jr. (born October 2, 1987) is an American professional ice hockey forward for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL). Kessel is a product of USA Hockey National Team Development Program and became that program's all-time leader for goals and points in his final 2004–05 year. Kessel finished his amateur career by playing collegiate hockey for the University of Minnesota in the WCHA.

He was the fifth-overall pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, taken by the Boston Bruins. In his rookie season, he was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for overcoming testicular cancer and continuing to play. Kessel plays internationally for the United States, and represented them every year between 2003-2010 except 2009 due to a shoulder injury. At the 2010 Winter Olympics Kessel played in 6 games, recording a goal and an assist en route to a silver medal.

On September 18, 2009, the Boston Bruins traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs, in exchange for a 2010 first-round pick, a 2010 second-round pick, and a 2011 first-round pick. Immediately afterward, the Leafs signed him to a five-year, $27 million contract.

After the 2010 NHL Winter Classic game, it was announced that Kessel, along with his Leaf team-mate Mike Komisarek, made the Olympic roster to represent Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics (However, Komisarek would miss the Olympics due to injury). In 6 games at the Olympics, Kessel tallied a goal and an assist as Team USA won a silver medal.

In 2012, Kessel registered 30 goals for a 4th season in a row.

On July 1, 2015, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded Kessel, Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon, and a conditional second round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington, Nick Spaling, and conditional first and third round draft picks.

Source: Wikipedia

NEWS

Kessel helps lift Pens’ to comeback victory October 18, 2017

Phil Kessel tallied a goal and two assists last night, guiding the Penguins’ to a 5-4, overtime win versus the New York Rangers.  The sharpshooting winger also registered 5 shots on net and a +3 rating, and would eventually go on to be named the second star of the contest. The 30-year-old Wisconsin-native has begun the 2017-18 season the way he ended the 2016-17 NHL Playoffs, as a reliable, point-producing machine. Through 7 games this season, Kessel has 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists) and 29 shots on net.

For more on last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com story here

Kessel helps Pens’ take back control of Stanley Cup Finals June 09, 2017

Phil Kessel was named the second star last night, guiding the Pittsburgh Penguins to an easy, 6-0 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The 29-year-old winger led the way with a goal, two assists and a +3 rating.  After setting career-highs in every offensive category during last year’s playoff run, the Wisconsin-native is at it again this year. Through 24 games he has registered new highs in points (23), assists (15) and plus/minus (+12).

For more on Kessel and last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com story here

Kessel registers assist in Pens’ victory June 01, 2017

Phil Kessel reached the 20-point plateau for a second consecutive playoff run last night, tallying an assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators. A clutch playoff performer wherever he has played, Kessel has once again averaged nearly a point per game in the 2017 NHL Playoffs (he has 63 points in 67 career playoff games). The speedy winger currently sits 3rd overall in points with 20, and ranks 2nd in plus/minus with a +13 rating.

For more on last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com recap here

Kessel scores late winner to even Eastern Conference Finals May 17, 2017

Phil Kessel broke the 0-0 deadlock late in the 3rd period on Monday, as the Pittsburgh Penguins hung on to defeat the Ottawa Senators 1-0 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It was Kessel’s second game-winning goal of the playoffs, and 6th overall. The Wisconsin-native currently sits 5th overall in playoff points with 14 (6 goals, 8 assists).

For more on Monday night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com recap here

Kessel dominates in Game 2 triumph May 01, 2017

Phil Kessel put in a stellar performance on Saturday, guiding the Pittsburgh Penguins to a convincing, 6-2 defeat of the Presidents’ Trophy winners the Washington Capitals.  The Madison-native tallied a game-high 3 points in the contest, including 2 goals and 4 shots on net. He would go on to be named the 1st star of the game. Kessel’s production has been monumental to the Penguins’ success in their current playoff run. Through 7 games, the sharpshooting winger currently sits tied for 1st overall in goals (7) and plus/minus (+9), and 2nd in points (11).

For more on Kessel and Saturday’s game, keep reading the nhl.com story here

Kessel on target in playoff opener April 13, 2017

Phil Kessel tallied a goal and an assist last night, as the Pittsburgh Penguins began their Stanley Cup defense with a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The sharpshooting winger also added a game-high 7 shots on net in the contest, and would go on to be named second star of the game. The Wisconsin-native tallied the game-winning goal on the power play, a situation he has thrived in this season. Kessel's 30 points (8 goals, 22 assists) ranked him 5th overall in power play points in 2016-17.

For more on last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com story here.

Hornqvist and Kessel help Penguins get by Avs February 10, 2017

Patric Hornqvist scored two goals – including the game winner – and Phil Kessel tallied a goal and an assist, as the Pittsburgh Penguins cruised to a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche last night. Hornqvist, who went on to be named the first star of the contest, has been in good form of late, with seven goals in his last eight games. As for Kessel, the speedy winger has been one of the dominant offensive players in the NHL this season, averaging just under a point per game. Through 53 games, he has registered 18 goals and 34 assists.

For more on last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com recap here

Kessel and Schultz shine in 13-goal barnburner December 06, 2016

Both Phil Kessel and Justin Schultz made a big splash on the score sheet last night, as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators by a score of 8-5. Down 4-3 in the second period, the dynamic duo went to work, scoring goals 23 seconds apart to give the Penguins the lead. Kessel would eventually go on to be named the third star of the game, finishing the contest with 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) and a +3 rating. Schultz added an assist to his second period goal, and also registered 3 shots on net and 2 blocked shots. The Kelowna, British Columbia-native is currently on a 4-game point streak, tallying 3 goals and 3 assists in that span.

For more on last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com recap here

Kessel stars in Penguins’ romp November 24, 2016

Phil Kessel was named the second star last night, as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated their Central Division rivals the New York Rangers, 6-1. The 29-year-old winger tallied a goal and an assist in the contest, while registering a +2 rating and 3 shots on net. Known around the league for his scoring prowess, the Wisconsin-native sits tied for second in assists (15) through 20 games, proving he is also a world-class playmaker. Kessel has been on a hot streak of late, tallying 2 goals and 5 assists in his last 5 games.

For more on last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com story here

Kessel takes Stanley Cup back to Toronto July 21, 2016

After spending his first day with the Stanley Cup in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, Phil Kessel returned to Toronto on Monday, his home away from home for his 6 NHL seasons. The 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs’ star made his first stop at The Hospital For Sick Children of Toronto, an institute he has shared an extensive relationship with since first joining the Maple Leafs in 2009.

The 28-year-old sharpshooter was the team's top point producer in all 6 of the seasons he played for Toronto, topping 30 goals on four occasions.

For more on Kessel, check out the cbc.ca piece here.

Kessel narrowly edged in Conn Smythe vote June 17, 2016

Phil Kessel’s fantastic 2016 playoffs performance almost ended with a cherry on the top, as the superstar winger came within a whisker of claiming the Conn Smythe trophy. The Wisconsin-product was narrowly edged by his teammate Sidney Crosby in the Conn Smythe voting process, 63-60, in what was one of the closest votes in NHL history. Kessel was full value for his 2nd place finish, leading his team in goals (10), points (22) and shots on net (98).

For more on Kessel, keep reading the tsn.ca story here

Kessel and Fehr carry the Penguins to victory June 07, 2016

Phil Kessel tallied two assists and Eric Fehr scored a late insurance goal, as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Kessel has been one of the revelations of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, averaging nearly a point per game during the Penguins’ championship run. In 22 games, the Wisconsin-native has registered 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists). Fehr, meanwhile, has proven to be a clutch goal scorer for the Penguins in the 2016 Playoffs, with all three of his goals coming with the game on the line.

For more on last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com recap here

Kessel named 2nd star in Penguins’ triumph June 02, 2016

Phil Kessel scored the opening goal last night, in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2-1, overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Madison, Wisconsin-native has been one of the driving forces in the Penguins’ playoff run, leading his team in both goals (10) and points (19).  The 28-year-old sharpshooter leads all skaters league-wide in shots on net with 83, averaging more than 4 per game this postseason.

For more on last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com recap here

Kessel and Palat shine in Game 3 of Eastern Conference Final May 19, 2016

Phil Kessel notched a goal and an assist and Ondrej Palat tallied 2 points in a losing cause, as the Pittsburgh Penguins took Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final by a score of 4-2. Kessel is making a case for the Conn Smythe Trophy, as he is currently sitting 3rd overall in playoff scoring with 16 points. Palat meanwhile, has been playing well of late, with 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in his last 5 games.

For more on last night’s contest, check out the nhl.com story here

Kessel scores in Penguins’ overtime win May 17, 2016

Phil Kessel scored his 6th goal of the playoffs last night, as the Pittsburgh Penguins went on to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. The 28-year-old sharpshooter is currently on a 4-game point streak, with 3 goals and 3 assists in that span. The Madison, Wisconsin-native is also in the midst of his best postseason to date. Through 13 games, Kessel has already set career-highs in assists (8) and points (14).

For more on last night’s game, check out the nhl.com story here

Kessel dominates in Game 6 triumph May 11, 2016

Phil Kessel was named the 2nd star of the game last night, in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-3, overtime and series-clinching victory over the Washington Capitals. The 28-year-old speedy winger paced the Penguins with two goals, and made a key pass on the game-winner in overtime. The Madison, Wisconsin-native has once again proved to be a clutch performer in the playoffs, having now tallied 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 11 games in 2016. Kessel, for his career, is a point-a-game player in the postseason, with an impressive 33 points (including 18 goals) in 33 games.

For more on last night’s contest, keep reading the nhl.com story here

Kessel and Cullen lead charge in Pens’ win April 25, 2016

Phil Kessel and Matt Cullen both registered a goal and an assist on Saturday night, as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the New York Rangers 6-3, advancing on to the Eastern Conference semis in the process.  Cullen was named the 3rd star of the match, after netting his 2nd game-winning goal of the series. Kessel, meanwhile, continued to be a spark on the Penguins’ powerplay, where he leads the NHL in goals (3) and points (5).

For more on Saturday’s game, check out the nhl.com story here.  

Kessel named 1st star in Pens’ romp March 28, 2016

Phil Kessel scored a goal and tallied five points overall on Saturday night, as the Pittsburgh Penguins steamrolled the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 7-2. The 28-year-old sniper turned provider in the win, registering career-highs in both assists (4) and points (5).  The Wisconsin-native has now registered 50 points or more in 8 straight seasons. In his first campaign with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kessel has 23 goals and 31 assists.

For more on Saturday’s game, check out the nhl.com article here

Parise and Kessel named 1st and 3rd stars March 28, 2016

Zach Parise and Phil Kessel were named the NHL’s first and third stars respectively on Monday, for the week ending March 27th. With his team fighting to hold on to a playoff spot in the contentious Western Conference, Parise guided the Minnesota Wild to three wins in three contests, registering a league-high five goals and seven points in that span. Kessel meanwhile tied the Minneapolis-native with seven points in three games, while leading the NHL in assists with 5.  

For more on Parise and Kessel, check out the nhl.com story here

Kessel scores in Penguins’ win March 18, 2016

Phil Kessel registered a goal and an assist last night, as the Pittsburgh Penguins came from behind to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-2. The speedy winger scored the tying goal midway through the second period, and assisted on the insurance goal late in the third period. He would go on to finish the game with a game-high seven shots on net and a +1 rating. Kessel’s goal was his 21st of the year, giving him an impressive eight straight seasons with 20 or more goals.

For more on last night’s contest, check out the nhl.com story here

Kessel leads the way in Penguins’ triumph January 22, 2016

Phil Kessel scored two goals—including the eventual game-winner—in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers last night.  The 28-year-old sniper gave his team the lead late in the second period before a adding an insurance goal in the 3rd.  He would go on to be named the 1st star of the contest, leading all players in shots on net with 6. 

For more on last night’s game, check out the nhl.com story here

Kessel breaks game open in Pens’ win December 22, 2015

Phil Kessel scored his 4th game-winning goal of the year last night, guiding the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. With the score tied 1-1 in the second period, the 28-year-old sharpshooter scored back-to-back goals to put Pittsburgh ahead for good. He would finish the game with 4 shots on net and a plus/minus rating of +2.

For more on Kessel, keep reading the nhl.com story here

Kessel’s goals bookend impressive Penguins victory December 02, 2015

Phil Kessel scored a pair of goals last night, as the Pittsburgh Penguins dispatched the San Jose Sharks by a score of 5-1. The 28-year-old sniper opened the scoring just 2:30 into the contest and would eventually be named the third star of the match. He led his team with 4 shots on net and finished the game with a plus/minus rating of +2.

For more on last night’s game, check out the nhl.com post here

New acquisitions lead Penguins to victory November 05, 2015

Phil Kessel registered two assists and Eric Fehr scored the winning goal, as the Pittsburgh Penguins hung on to defeat the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 3-2. Known for his scoring acumen, Kessel turned playmaker on Wednesday, assisting on the two first Penguins’ goals which included a slick pass down low on the power play. He went on to be named the first star of the game. Fehr meanwhile, scored his 2nd goal of the year, tallying a shorthanded marker midway through the 3rd period that would turn out to be the game winner.

For more on the last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com story here

Kessel comes up big in Penguins victory October 29, 2015

Phil Kessel scored the winning goal last night, as the Pittsburgh Penguins came from behind to defeat the Washington Capitals, 3-1. One of the biggest acquisitions of the offseason, the sharpshooting forward has been in a groove of late, scoring 3 goals in his last 4 games.

For more on Kessel and last night’s game, check out the nhl.com story here

Kessel strikes twice in preseason debut September 23, 2015

Phil Kessel made quite the impression in his first preseason game with the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring 2 goals in a 7-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. He would go on to be named the first star of the contest. The 27-year-old sniper was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in what was one of the bigger trades of the summer. The Wisconsin-native tallied 61 points (25 goals, 36 assists) in 82 games last season.

For more on Kessel and last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com recap here

Penguins’ players excited by Kessel addition August 18, 2015

After struggling to score goals late in the season as well as in the playoffs in 2014-15, the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled the trigger on a trade this July, acquiring All-star sniper Phil Kessel.  The move should pay immediate dividends for the Penguins’ offense, and players and coaches alike are excited for the upcoming campaign.

The Madison, Wisconsin-native has been a model of consistency since his breakout season in 08-09 where he tallied 36 goals in 70 games. The speedy winger has averaged 30 goals a year since then, and has not missed a game since 2009.

For more on Kessel, keep reading the nhl.com story here

Kessel traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins July 02, 2015

In need of an offensive spark at wing, the Pittsburgh Penguins found their man on Wednesday, acquiring Phil Kessel in a blockbuster trade. The 27-year-old has been one of the best scorers in the NHL over the last few years, having scored an impressive 151 goals since 2010.  For his career, the product of Madison, Wisconsin has tallied 247 goals and 273 assists in 668 games.  Drafted 5th overall by the Bruins in 2006, Kessel has not missed a single game since the beginning of the 2009-10 season, currently holding an ironman streak of 446 games.

For more on Kessel, check out the nhl.com article here

Kessel leads Maple Leafs to 6th straight victory December 17, 2014

Phil Kessel was named the game’s first star last night, as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 6-2. The Leafs, who are currently the hottest club in the league with a record of 8-1-1 in their last 10 outings, have been buoyed by an explosive offense, led by Kessel. The two-time All-star and Olympic silver medalist has 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) during the Leafs hot streak.

For more on last night’s game, keep reading the thestar.com post here

Kessel and Bozak team up in Leafs’ romp November 13, 2014

Linemates Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak carried the load for the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, each contributing goals in the 6-1 defeat of the Boston Bruins. Kessel was named the first star of the match after firing home a pair of goals – including the game winner – while Bozak scored one and assisted on two others.  Both players have had hot starts to the season. Kessel sits 3rd in the league in scoring with 21 points (10 goals and 11 assists), while Bozak ranks second on the Leafs with 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists).

For more on last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com story here

Bozak and Kessel shine in Leafs’ win October 29, 2014

Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak were front and center in the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres last night, both registering a goal and an assist in the contest. Despite being split up, the longtime linemates excelled on their new lines, each garnering stars in the victory. Through nine games, the pair lead the Maple Leafs with ten points apiece.

For more on last night’s game, check out the nhl.com story here

Kessel does it all in Leafs' win October 22, 2014

Phil Kessel put in a dominating performance in The Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders last night, leading the charge with two goals and an assist. The speedy winger was once again named the player of the match, giving him three first star selections so far this season. Through seven games, the product of Madison, Wisconsin has a team-leading four goals and four assists.

For more on Kessel and last night’s game, check out the nhl.com story here.  

Kessel starting to heat up October 15, 2014

Phil Kessel was once again front and center in another Leafs’ win, Tuesday, scoring the winning goal in overtime as Toronto defeated Colorado 3-2.  The American-born sniper added an assist and 6 shots on net in the victory, and led all forwards in ice-time (21:01). The speedy winger has been the first star in the last two Maple Leafs' victories, scoring two goals and three assists in the process.

For more on last night’s game, check out the nhl.com story here

Kessel scores again in Leafs loss February 28, 2014

Phil Kessel picked up right where he left off before the Olympic break, scoring a goal and adding an assist in the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 overtime loss to the New York Islanders. The goal was Kessel’s 32nd of the year, putting him in a tie for a 2nd overall in the scoring lead. The Wisconsin-native has been on fire in 2014, registering points in fourteen of his last sixteen games.

For more on last night’s game, keep reading the nhl.com recap here.

Kessel’s hat trick guides USA into the quarterfinals February 17, 2014

Phil Kessel was a one-man wrecking crew, Sunday, as the Americans defeated the Slovenians, 5-1. The product of Madison, Wisconsin scored the first three goals of the contest, making him the first U.S. Olympian since 2002 to record a hat trick.  His standout performance vaulted him up to 1st overall in the Olympic hockey scoring lead, with an impressive seven points in three games.

For more on Kessel, keep reading the reuters.com piece here.

Kessel and Backes key in American triumph February 14, 2014

After a slow start, the U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Team exploded for 6 goals in the second period, en route to an easy, 7-1 win over the Slovakian squad. Phil Kessel led the American attack with a goal and two assists, while David Backes also contributed with a goal and two shots on net.

For more on yesterday’s game, keep reading the teamusa.org story here.

Kessel named 2nd star for the month of January February 03, 2014

After tying for the most points scored in January, Phil Kessel was named the 2nd star of the month. The Maple Leafs winger was an integral factor in his team’s rise in the standings, moving into 3rd in the Atlantic Division.  In 15 games played, the Wisconsin-product put up superstar type numbers, scoring 7 goals and adding 13 assists.

For more on Kessel, keep reading the nhl.com article here.

Kessel powers Leafs to victory January 22, 2014

The Toronto Maple Leafs showed no signs of fatigue in the second game of a back-to-back, beating the Colorado Avalanche convincingly, 5-2. Phil Kessel was once again in top form, scoring his 25th and 26th goals of the season while taking a game-high 8 shots on net. The speedy winger has been on a tear of late, racking up 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in his last 7 games. His hot play coincides with the Maple Leafs recent success, a six-game winning streak in which they have scored an impressive 4 goals per game.

For more on Kessel and last night’s game, check out the tsn.ca story here.

Kessel stays hot in Leafs victory October 30, 2013

After his 4-point performance in last night’s 4-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers, Phil Kessel catapulted up the NHL points leaderboard to the 2nd spot behind Sidney Crosby with 18 points. The product of Madison, Wisconsin has been on fire this year, scoring nine goals in his first 13 games.   He is a big reason why the Toronto Maple Leafs currently lead the Eastern Conference with an impressive record of 9-4. 

 

For more on Kessel, keep reading thestar.com article here

Kessel’s hat trick lifts Leafs over Ducks October 23, 2013

After falling behind 2-0 to the red-hot Anaheim Ducks, Phil Kessel took the Toronto Maple Leafs on his shoulders, scoring three of the team’s next four goals en route to a 4-2, comeback victory.  The Leafs are now 7-0 this year when Kessel registers at least one point. The sniper leads the squad with 11 points and is second in goals with 5. Kessel’s hot start is one of the major reasons why the Maple Leafs currently lead the Atlantic division with a record of 7-3-0, good for 14 points.

For more on Kessel’s three-goal performance, check out the tsn.ca piece here.

Kessel shows class on Raymond empty-netter October 17, 2013

If you thought Phil Kessel was all about the goals, think again. In Tuesday’s 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild, the renowned sniper made a classy move by passing up the chance to tap in an easy empty net goal. Few would have batted an eye if Kessel had swatted in Mason Raymond’s shot, which could have easily been discerned as a pass. Instead he went out of his way to let it go in untouched, garnering respect across the league for his selfless act.

For more on Kessel, keep reading the sportsnet.ca piece here.

Steven Stamkos breaks out with hat trick versus Panthers October 11, 2013

After going scoreless thus far this season, Steven Stamkos broke out in a big way last night, lighting the lamp three times en route to a 7-2 thrashing of the Florida Panthers. The Tampa Bay Lightning sniper finished the night with 4 points, putting him in a tie for 4th in scoring (6 points) with fellow stars P.K. Subban and Phil Kessel.

For more On Stamkos’ electrifying performance, keep reading the sportsnet.ca article here.

Phil Kessel signs 8-year contract extension October 02, 2013

The Toronto Maple Leafs made a big move today, locking up their top scorer Phil Kessel to an 8-year, $64 million deal that will see him in white and blue through the 2021-22 season. The 26-year-old sniper has averaged 30 goals or more for most of his career, and has put point-per-game numbers over the last two seasons.  Kessel finished 7th in the scoring race last year, posting 52 points in just 48 games.

For more on the Kessel signing, keep reading the thestar.com article here.

Phaneuf, Kessel, help force game 7 in Boston May 13, 2013

Toronto’s long awaited return to the playoffs may not be short lived after all.  Once down 3-1 in the series, the Maple Leafs have made a valiant comeback to force a final and decisive game 7 against their bitter rivals, the Boston Bruins.

Last night’s 2-1 victory was a classic case of star players stepping up for their team. With the game tied 0-0 going into the 3rd, Dion Phaneuf scored early in the period to break the deadlock. Phil Kessel scored what would be the winning goal seven minutes later, and James Reimer held off the Bruins the rest of the way.

Kessel was the most dangerous forward on the ice all night long. Besides scoring the winner, he led all skaters in shots on net, and also participated in the Leafs first goal.

Phaneuf was equally effective, leading his squad in ice time (25:16) while blocking 3 shots and adding 2 hits.

Kessel and Phaneuf were named the game’s 2nd and 3rd stars, respectively.

Game 7 goes tonight in Boston. For more on last night’s affair, keep reading the TSN story here.

For an insight into Dion Phaneuf’s rollercoaster playoff series, check out the Globe and Mail’s article here.

Welcome Back! Leafs, Wild, Islanders and Habs return to the playoffs April 29, 2013

In a shortened season with storylines a plenty, the playoffs begin with a decidedly “old school vibe”, as a number of teams with legendary pasts return to the fold.  Most notable of all are the Toronto Maple Leafs, coming back after a dry spell kept them out since the 2003-04 season. They will take on their old rivals the Boston Bruins, a classic original six matchup that should prove to be a hard-hitting, action-packed affair. 

For more on the Leafs/Bruins series, keep reading The Globe and Mail article here

The Islanders and Wild return after not making the playoffs since 07’ and 08’, respectively. Both teams will look to do better this time around. Neither has made it out of the first round since the Wild advanced all the way to the conference finals in 02-03.

For what makes the Islanders a fun team to watch in these playoffs, click on the SB Nation write-up  here.

To find out about the Wild’s chances, keep reading the Star Tribune story here

As for the Canadiens, It has only been a year since they last qualified, but it was the turnaround from last year that was so impressive. After finishing 15th in the east in the 2011-12 season, few could have imagined a 2nd place finish this year.  

For a peek into how the Habs could win it all, read the NHL.com post here.

 

Kessel on fire in April April 16, 2013

With the playoffs approaching fast, Phil Kessel is heating up at just the right time.  The explosive winger was named the NHL’s second star of the week, after posting 5 goals and two assists in just three games. He was at it again last night, scoring the winning goal in Toronto’s 2-0 victory over New Jersey. For Kessel, it was his sixth goal in the last four games, pushing his total to 16 for the year.  The sniper leads the team in points with 43, which currently ranks him 11th overall. 

Kessel’s hot streak also coincides with the Maple Leafs rise to supremacy in the Eastern Conference. With 6 games left to play in the regular season, Toronto sits just 4 points behind the Montreal Canadiens for 1st place in the Northeast division.

While Kessel will look to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games, the Leafs will have a chance to claim a spot in the NHL playoffs with a win tonight versus the red-hot Washington Capitals.  Whatever the outcome, Kessel and his teammates are becoming the talk of the town in Toronto, and it may just be the beginning of things to come…