While many readers of this blog have expressed a measure of “Kessel exhaustion,” it’s appropriate to once again write about the Toronto winger because tomorrow night Phil Kessel will be back at TD Garden.
When the Bruins host the Leafs tomorrow night, they’ll be looking to bounce back after Detroit’s home-and-home sweep of them. And for Kessel, the challenge will be to bounce out of a slump that has now reached 14 games without a goal.
In four games with the Leafs at the Garden, Kessel is point-less with a minus-4 rating. He is still searching for his first career goal against the team that drafted him in 2006.
Today Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star reported that the Leafs are looking to spark Kessel, who is stuck on 19 goals, by juggling their lines. McGran writes:
To that end, coach Ron Wilson mixed up his lines, reuniting Clarke MacArthur with Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, while switching Joffrey Lupul to left wing with Tyler Bozak and Kessel.
“You’ve got to always try to find chemistry with everyone,” said Kessel. “Right now it’s a tough stretch to say the least. I’ve got to be better.”
Getting better might have to wait until after the match-up with the Bruins, who relish the chance to bottle up their former teammate and send him home with a big goose egg in his column on the score sheet. The Bruins always seem to have their own offensive troubles, but when it comes to defense and stopping Kessel, maybe the only way the Leafs can get him on the board against Boston is to bring back Darryl Sittler and Mats Sundin to skate next to him.