Maple Leafs say Phil Kessel will play

Phil Kessel (left) of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his goal against the San Jose Sharks...

Phil Kessel (left) of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his goal against the San Jose Sharks during NHL action at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Tuesday December 3, 2013. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:35 PM ET

Leafs Nation can breathe a little easier: Phil Kessel will play on Thursday night.

The sight of Kessel leaving practice early Wednesday must have given the coaching staff of the already injury-depleted Maple Leafs fits. But head coach Randy Carlyle said after his team’s optional gameday skate Thursday that Toronto’s leading goal scorer, with 15, and point-getter, with 25, will be in the lineup against the Dallas Stars at the Air Canada Centre as the Leafs look to put the brakes on a five-game losing skid.

“Phil Kessel will play tonight,” Carlyle told the media as he took to his podium, getting what was on everyone’s mind out of the way quickly.


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