Playoffs are why Maple Leafs got Phil Kessel

It took a few more years than anticipated, but Phil Kessel finally has propelled the Maple Leafs...

It took a few more years than anticipated, but Phil Kessel finally has propelled the Maple Leafs into the post-season. (DARREN BROWN/QMI Agency)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:49 PM ET

TORONTO - You can talk about the Maple Leafs goaltending and, after a 49-save James Reimer effort in Saturday nights playoff-clinching performance, why wouldnt you?

You can talk about the overall physical approach to the game that has indisputably helped Randy Carlyles outfit earn respect around the NHL.

And of course, if you are a Leafs fan you probably cant stop talking about the team finally being in the post-season for the first time in nine years, now that the victory over the Sens has finally sealed it.

But if you want to talk about the teams chances to make a little noise once they get there in 10 days or so, why not start with Phil Kessel?

The Leafs forward was acquired by former general manager Brian Burke prior to his first full season here, ostensibly to fast-track the team to the playoffs. We all know how that worked out and how the price paid to the Boston Bruins in the form of draft picks has become a constant discussion point. But, certainly, part of Burkes rationale of the cost was to have Kessel be an impact player at the most important time of the hockey year.

And that time has come for Kessel who, based on current form, would appear armed and ready.

With three games remaining in the season, the ultra-talented winger is on a better than point-a-game pace for the first time in his career, hitting his most productive stride as his first playoff date as a Maple Leaf approaches.


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