As the fans in the Air Canada Centre chanted “Thank You Seguin” Bruins fans may have muted their televisions, but the truth is Phil Kessel has outplayed Tyler Seguin by a large margin this series to say the least. Kessel netted his third goal of the series and helped the Maple Leafs extend the series to a seventh game Monday night in Boston.
Kessel now has three goals and one assist in six games while sporting a plus-2 while Tyler Seguin has bagels across his stat line through six games. Kessel really has been a huge factor for the Leafs which previously has not been the case against the Bruins. He is silencing those critics as he scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal for his Leafs.
His goal tonight may have not been flashy, but it is sometimes about being in the right place at the right time and Kessel was- lifting a back-hand past Tuukka Rask to give the Leafs a 2-0 lead in the third period.
If the Leafs were to have any shot this series, Kessel would need to play as he did during the regular season where he netted 20 goals and assisted on 32 others. To this point, Kessel had recorded points in four of six games against the Black and Gold and is playing with that confidence he had before the post season began.
Every time Kessel touched the puck Sunday night he was dangerous. When his team needed it most, he stepped up and played up to his potential against a team that gave him trouble over the years. He was getting to the dirty areas and crashing the net when he did not have the puck.
Kessel played 24 shifts and totaled 15:39 of total ice time on the night. The B’s will need to do a better job of keeping him in check Monday night at TD Garden if they want any chance of advancing to the second round.
If Kessel gets in open ice he is very dangerous. Look for Zdeno Chara to really play with a chip on his shoulder Monday night in front of the TD Garden faithful.
Maybe B’s fans can return the favor with “Thank you Kessel” chants if the B’s are celebrating a Game 7 victory. Buckle up everybody.