Phil Kessel’s big night helps Leafs hold on vs. Senators
Going into the third period, it seemed like Dion Phaneuf’s brutal hit on Stephane Da Costa would tell the story of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ win against the Ottawa Senators. (Check out that pulverizing check at the bottom of this post.)
Instead, the lasting image will be a fantastic night by Phil Kessel. Kessel scored a hat trick and added an assist to bring his season points total to five in just two games. He even looked great killing time when Ottawa emptied its net, wasting a bunch of the Senators’ time and looking dangerous throughout.
There was little indication that the Leafs would need such an explosive game from Kessel through the first two periods, though. At one point, the Maple Leafs were just embarrassing the Senators, going up 5-1 on Colton Orr’s goal at the 2:52 mark of the third.
Yet for the second night in a row, Ottawa made things a lot more interesting after digging themselves a big hole, as Daniel Afredsson scored twice and Jason Spezza earned his first goal of the season. Fittingly, Kessel’s hat trick goal put things away, even as Da Costa earned a measure of revenge by scoring to cut the deficit in half. The Maple Leafs ultimately won their second game of the season 6-5.
Here’s that awe-inspiring (but clean) Phaneuf hit.