6 Days Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto's brass was thrilled with the play of Phil Kessel this season.
"From a development standpoint, what we would say is the biggest plus, because there were a lot of pluses, is probably the play of Phil Kessel," Leafs vice-president of hockey operations Dave Poulin said on Wednesday. "Not only in the playoffs and in that series, but throughout the year. He took his game to a different level. He did it physically and he did it in all three zones and he played hard (against the Bruins)." Much was made about Kessel's past struggles versus his old team heading into the first round, but he put those talks to rest by netting four goals and recording six points in the series. The 25-year-old winger has one year left on his current deal, so an extension could be in the works as soon as this summer.
8 Days Toronto Maple Leafs
Phil Kessel wasn't ready to look at the bright side after the Leafs were ousted in Game 7 of their first-round series.
While some were able to find a silver lining, Kessel wasn't ready to do that after being a part of a monumental collapse that saw the Leafs blow a three-goal lead in the third period. "How can you look at the positives after a game like that?" Phil Kessel said. "I don't know what happened to us. 4-1, you can't lose that game," said Kessel. "Obviously we'll have the summer to think about it, work hard and get back at it next year." Kessel had four goals and two helpers in the seven-game series.
9 Days Toronto Maple Leafs
Phil Kessel's goal was poised to be the game winner before the Boston Bruins tied Game 7 in the final minute and then won 5-4 in overtime.
Kessel's goal made it 3-1 and looked to be the game-winning goal entering the final two minutes of the third period. It surely would've been a sweet moment for Kessel, whose history with the Bruins franchise and Boston fan base is impossible to ignore. Perhaps even worse for Toronto fans, Tyler Seguin, who was taken with one of the picks acquired in the Kessel trade, had the primary assist on Patrice Bergeron's overtime winner.
10 Days Toronto Maple Leafs
Phil Kessel scored a goal for the Maple Leafs in a 2-1 win over Boston Sunday to send their opening round playoff series back to Boston for Game Seven Monday.
Kessel's goal near the midway point of the third period gave the Leafs a 2-0 cushion at the time, but it turned out to be a crucial marker as Boston narrowed the lead to 2-1 in the final minute of the game. Dion Phaneuf scored the other Leafs' goal while James van Riemsdyk picked up two assists.
16 Days Toronto Maple Leafs
Phil Kessel found the back of the net for the second straight game, scoring a power-play goal 47 seconds into the third period of Toronto's 5-2 loss Monday night.
Kessel and Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle took full advantage of having last change at home Monday night. The pair did everything they could to keep Kessel away from Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who's been stalking Kessel ever since the winger was traded to the Leafs. While it sounds cruel to say, the Maple Leafs will need more out of Kessel and the rest of their forwards if they're going to even the series at 2 on Wednesday night.
17 Days Toronto Maple Leafs
Phil Kessel got a huge monkey off his back by scoring the game-winning goal for Toronto in Saturday's 4-2 win over the Bruins.
Kessel's breakaway goal early in the third period put the Maple Leafs ahead by a score of 3-1, a lead they would not relinquish as they evened up their playoff series 1-1. "It has been a long time against these guys," Kessel said. "It was nice to get one. I was happy." The goal was the first even-strength tally registered by Kessel against Boston since his arrival in Toronto three seasons ago.
19 Days Toronto Maple Leafs
Phil Kessel said he isn't letting the Bruins fans get to him.
Kessel had a tremendous regular season with 20 goals and 32 assists, but he was held to a mere shot in the Leafs' Game 1 loss. The winger said it isn't hard to block out the boos from the TD Garden fans. "I think it's pretty easy. You've just got to go out there and play your game," Kessel said. "(I've) been doing it for a long time now. So do the little things that you do good and like I said, hopefully things turn."