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Kessel scores 3, Leafs win 6th straight at home
“I think with Phil, he’s been classified as this one type of player, and we think that he’s got more of an all-around ability too,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “He can distribute the puck, he can pass the puck and he can find people. He can do a lot more things than just shoot.”
Ottawa had a 2-0 lead midway through the second period and had an excellent chance to extend it near the 11 minute mark as Erik Karlsson beat Bernier with a shot glove-side, but hit the post.
“I felt we played hard,” said Neil, who scored for the first time in 13 games. “We gave up some chances in the second, but I thought we settled it down there in the third and got back after them.
“I don’t think it’s a 6-3 hockey game, that’s for sure. It was pretty close back and forth.”
Toronto cut Ottawa’s lead in half two minutes later as Kessel put in James van Riemsdyk’s feed.
The Leafs completed the comeback at 14:39 of the middle frame. Kadri hit Senators defenseman Cody Ceci from behind, and then centered the loose puck to Lupul for his 17th goal. Despite Ottawa’s protest, no penalty was called.
Toronto had back-to-back, first-period power plays courtesy of consecutive Cory Conacher penalties. The Maple Leafs mustered just two shots.
NOTES: Leafs forward Carter Ashton sat out because of a hand injury. … Peter Holland missed his first game with what Carlyle called a lace bite. … Toronto’s Frazer McLaren, who missed eight games with a shoulder injury, returned to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 14. … Conacher played in his 100th NHL game. … Ottawa D Chris Phillips missed his third straight game with a lower body injury. … Referee Paul Devorski became the fifth official to work 1,500 NHL games.
By Emily Miller
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