SUNRISE, Fla. -- Along with his proven goal-scoring ability, Phil Kessel is bringing some wow factor to the Maple Leafs.
His first of two goals last night against Florida was a thing of beauty. He undressed defenceman Keith Ballard, then put a quick shot past goalie Tomas Vokoun. It immediately helped his club forget it had dug itself into a 2-0 hole earlier in the first period.
"With Phil, you kind of just open the gate and let him play," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "Sometimes, he's not going to be where you want him to be, but he improvises and uses his skill.
"I read the naysayers out of Boston who said he didn't score any important goals. For us, any goal is important and he's found a way to do that."
Kessel's magic may be starting to rub off on some of his teammates as well as the scoring woes that plagued them early in the season are, for the time being at least, no longer a crisis.
"Obviously we don't want give up two goals like that but we battled back," Kessel said. "We stick together. I'm just going out there to help the team win."