The apples were the first in eight games for the 28-year-old sniper, who still contributed three goals during that span. With 21 points in 22 playoff games this spring, Kessel has been as advertised in his first postseason with the Pens and is very much in the running for the Conn Smythe Trophy -- especially if Pittsburgh can lock in that 16th and final win required to take home Lord Stanley's prize.
Kessel tapped home a pass from Nick Bonino to put the
Kessel notched a power-play goal during Tuesday's 5-2 win over Tampa Bay in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Kessel has been an absolute beast in the playoffs, totaling nine markers, 10 helpers and 68 shots on goal. The 28-year-old is almost expected to reach the scoresheet at this point, as he's done so in 13 of 17 contests to date. The 2006 No. 5 pick will be one to watch in Game 7 on Thursday at home.
With the marker, the former Leaf (and Bruin) has now recorded points in six straight games -- a span in which he's piled up nine points. Although not known as much of a "winner" with his past NHL teams or Olympic efforts, the Madison, Wisconsin native has rattled off 38 points in 37 career playoff games, so it's clear that Phil the Thrill thrives when playing past mid-April. He also leads the Pens in goals (eight), points (17), and power-play points (four), and paces the entire league in shots on goal (63) this postseason, so regardless of how far the Pens make it on their journey for their fourth Stanley Cup, we'd say Kessel's first season in the Steel City has been a success.
Kessel has been red-hot over the last five games, picking up at least one point in each while totaling four goals and four assists in that span. He was noticeable on almost every shift in this one, as the Lightning had no answer for the former Maple Leaf's speed.
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