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Kessel Powers Toronto Past Boston

Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski nets the winning goal past Tim Thomas during the third period. Toronto won 4-3. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Sometimes it just takes a couple of games to prove your worth. For Phil Kessel, it took him almost a year to put some points on the board against his former team. The last time Kessel registered a point against the Boston Bruins was on March 9, 2010, when he was credited for an assist. On Tuesday night, Kessel scored two goals and put his team on top 4-3 over the Bruins.

Prior to the game, Kessel hadn’t got a goal against the Bruins since he was traded in 2009 (10 games). Toronto Maple Leafs head coach knew that Kessel was in a slump and that only Kessel was the one to overcome it.

“Phil’s the one whose gonna work his way out of this,” coach Ron Wilson said before the game. “There’s only so much you can do to help him in terms of playing him with different people. He’s gotta score on his chances and dig in and help in other ways until the puck goes in the net.”

Well, it certainly went in the net for Kessel as he scored his 20th and 21st goals of the year and first since January 11th. His Maple Leafs earned their 24th win of the season to bring their record to 24-27-6 on the season, still eight points back from being in eighth place.

The Bruins loss (third in a row), brought them down to a record of 31-19-7, good for 69 points. The Bruins are now tied in first place in the division with the Montreal Canadiens.

After being up in the third period of the game, Bruins head coach Claude Julien was not happy with the way his team ended the game.

“Unacceptable,” coach Claude Julien said. “I think it’s one of those situations where if you have any sense of pride, you’re embarrassed about tonight.”

Tim Thomas started in goal for the Bruins and suffered his eighth loss of the season. His record dipped to 26-8-6 on the year. Thomas only stopped 24-of-28 shots on goal.

For the Maple Leafs, James Reimer started in goal and put together a solid outing. The victory improved his record to 7-4-1 on the year. He stopped 32-of-35 shots that we shot on goal. Not too bad for the third string goalie.

First Period

  • Daniel Paille got things going for the Bruins in the first period, coming off his recent four-game suspension, with his second goal of the season. He was assisted by Mark Stuart and Gregory Campbell. Bruins up 1-0
  • With less than three minutes to go in the period Toronto tied things up with a goal from Phil Kessel on the power play. He was asssisted by Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul with his 20th goal of the season. Game tied 1-1

Second Period

  • Mikhail Grabovski got things going just less than five minutes into the period with his 23rd goal of the season to put Toronto back on top. He was assisted by Mike Komisarek and Carl Gunnarsson on the play. Toronto up 2-1
  • With less than two minutes to go in the period the Bruins fought back with a goal by Campbell to tie things back up. Campbell’s eighth goal of the season was assisted by Brad Marchand and Michael Ryder while on the power play. Game tied 2-2

Third Period

  • Mid-way through the period and Patrice Bergeron put the B’s back on top. With his 20th goal of the season, Bergeron was assisted by Adam McQuaid and Mark Recchi on the play. Bruins up 3-2
  • Just when things started to look better for the Bruins Kessel had to put a damper on everything. With his 21st goal of the year and second of the night, Kessel tied things up with his second power play goal. He was assisted by Lupul and Tomas Kaberle. Game tied 3-3
  • With about a minute left to go in the game, Grabovski ended the Bruins hopes of coming back or forcing an overtime. Grabovski scored his second goal of the game and 24th of the season to put the Maple Leafs up for good. He was assisted by Phaneuf and Clarke MacArthur. Maple Leafs up 4-3

Up Next

The Bruins will travel to New York to take on the New York Islanders who have actually played well as of late. The Bruins won the only meeting between the two teams back in early December 5-2. Boston easily handled New York in that game but recent wins over the Senators, Canadiens and Sabres really show that maybe the Islanders are improving. The team currently has a record of 21-29-7 but have been incredibly inconsistent throughout the season, even lossing 14 games in a row at one point. Bruins should easily take care of them, but you never know.

Game Notes

  • Both teams were successful on the power play but Toronto saw a little more success. The Maple Leafs went 2-for-3 while the Bruins went 1-for-4.
  • Toronto was the more physical team on the ice as they out-hit Boston 25-to-29 and had more penalty minutes, 8-to-6.
  • The Bruins won more faceoffs 31-to-28 and out-shot the Leafs 35-to-28.
  • The Bruins announced after the game they had acquired center Chris Kelly in a trade with Ottawa for Boston’s second-round pick in this year’s draft
  • Johnny Boychuk was scratched from the game.

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