The Stat Line Of The Night — 2/24/11 — Phil Kessel
It wasn’t all that long ago when everyone in Leaf Nation was voicing their displeasure with the direction of the team, throwing waffles on the ice, chanting “Fire Wilson”, and talking about how the Boston Bruins were going to have themselves another top 5 draft pick courtesy of the Phil Kessel trade.
My, how quickly things can change in a month. During February, the Leafs have picked up 18 of a possible 24 points, helping them creep back into the playoff picture as they now sit only four points back of the eighth-place Carolina Hurricanes. They are currently one of the hottest teams in the league, and every hot team usually has themselves a hot player. For the Leafs, that player would be Phil Kessel, who continued to burn the opposition last night.
Playing against their bitter rivals from Montreal, the Leafs used a four point effort from Kessel to overcome the four goals allowed by goaltender James Reimer. In the end, Kessel would finish the game with two goals and two assists, en route to a 5-4 Toronto victory at the Bell Centre.
That performance gave Kessel six goals in his last five games, and 10 points in his last eight games. He has quickly turned from whipping boy to savior in Leafs Nations as his four-point effort last night puts his team on the brink of making the playoffs for the first time since the lockout, and it also earns him our “Stat Line of the Night” for Thursday, February 24, 2011.