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Maple Leafs 3 - Jets 2: Phil Kessel Delivers

The Toronto Maple Leafs went into the 'feared' MTS Centre and left with two points after a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets thanks to Phil Kessel's first of the season.

Reimer Saves
Reimer Saves
Marianne Helm

The Toronto Maple Leafs went into the frozen tundra and emerged with a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets and the hope that their best goal scorer's luck may have finally turned. While the biggest news last night was that Phil Kessel finally broke his scoring drought but you wouldn't know that from listening to him answer questions after last night's game. His focus was on the fact that the Leafs had beaten the Jets.

Phil Kessel's Post Game Interview

"Yeah she's been a while right? Always good to score a goal but we won the game so that's the most important thing."

Kessel was right in that the game was certainly not the Leafs' best game of the season. Cam has the break down of the scoring chances last night and while the Leafs eventually won the battle, the scoring chances were 3-3 after two periods which gives you an idea of the snoozefest that we watched for most of last night. The other good piece of news is that we can go a few days without having to read how unlucky Phil Kessel has been or tracking every single shot he has had on goal.

My favourite answer from that Kessel scrum was to the question of whether he had done anything different in order to score the goal:

Same thing as I always do. I know that it's eventually going to go in.

And he did! The goal came on a wrist shot from 41 feet out, was precisely the kind of goal that he is known for, and the complete opposite of what everyone but Alex Ovechkin told him that he needed to do in order to break the goose egg. The other thing that was fantastic about the goal was seeing how much happier his teammates were for him. As much as Kessel is shy and he avoids the ravenous press pack, by all accounts Kessel is really liked in the dressing room. At least he may not be as jumpy:

Animated: Phil Kessel is afraid of the puck  on Twitpic

Odds and Sods

  • Frazer McLaren fought after he was admittedly cheapshotted by Chris Thorburn but it didn't go well for him. At least he protected himself.
  • I assume I wasn't the only one that threw up a little bit when I saw one of the Jets hit James Reimer in the head. Good to see that not only did Colton Orr give him the push but he also didn't crush his skull in for breathing on Reimer.
  • Having said that, other than not doing the imaginary job that they are paid to do, they were fine. They had a good shift with 10 minutes left in the third although I am dubious about giving them the honour of shifting momentum for the Leafs because they weren't run over like usual.
  • Tyler Bozak's shorthanded goal was a beauty. Thought he did a great job holding off the defenceman and getting off a good shot.
  • And it sure made up for an awful goal against on the powerplay. A little chip off of the boards shouldn't beat four Maple Leafs.
  • Matt Frattin may have sold his soul but he made a great play to get his sixth to tie the game. He had eight in 57 games last year. That 42.9% shooting percentage won't last but for now it's been really helpful.
  • James Reimer's even strength save percentage is up to .933 which is good for 21st in the NHL and it's 11th if you take out everyone that hasn't played more than two games.
  • When Alexei Ponikarovsky took his late penalty I wanted to give him a hug. Thanks for the help old buddy!
  • I could hug Greg Brady

Ok, well maybe not hug but the "look at those crazy fans!" angle of covering the Jets is reminiscent of the way that the supporters were more of the story in TFC's coverage than anything the team did on the field. Eventually the media will start reminding people that the Jets suck and that they are going nowhere.

Game In Six Highlights