Now we know what it takes for Phil Kessel to score against the Bruins.
The veteran forward, who shifted to center for the first time this season tonight, got a little help for an overzealous Tim Thomas and buried the shootout-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over Boston.
Kessel is still goal-less in eight career games against the franchise that drafted him, but he helped the Leafs win a game they clearly deserved more than the Bruins, who practically packed it in after going up 2-1 early in the third period. To his credit, Kessel won the key faceoff in the closing moments before the tying goal.
Kris Versteeg finally scored the tying goal in a 6-on-4 situation with 43 seconds left in regulation.
Here’s a glance at the box score:
•Thomas stopped 38 of 40 shots in regulation and overtime, including a diving glove save on Francois Beauchemin in overtime that’ll be on the highlight reels for years to come.
In the shootout, he was undressed by rookie Nazem Kadri’s backhand shot on the shootout’s first shot. And then Kessel, the Leafs’ third shooter, tried to go 5-hole. Thomas slid back into the net with the puck under him but not secured.
•Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton scored Boston’s goals.
•Patrice Bergeron, Boston’s best penalty-killing forward and the Bruins’ most responsible center, got caught holding for the crucial penalty with 2:30 left. It was clear that Bergeron took his hand off the stick to grab a hold of Clarke MacArthur.