Kessel registered his first multi-point game of the season with a goal and two assists during Thursday's win over the Islanders.
Kessel chipped in a modest two goals and two assists with just 16 shots and minus-4 rating through the first seven games of the season, but his breakout showing Thursday is encouraging. The Penguins are an entirely different team with Sidney Crosby in the lineup, and Kessel's fantasy value is trending up.
Kessel picked up a power-play assist in Tuesday's 3-2 win over Florida.
He's notched two goals and two assists in seven games, and all four points have come on the power play. Coach Mike Sullivan continues to tinker with his even-strength lines; Kessel started on the "HBK" line Tuesday, then moved to Evgeni Malkin's trio later in the contest.
Kessel skated with Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin on Monday for practice.
Pens coach Mike Sullivan gave him a whirl with Evgeni Malkin on Saturday. Kessel created several scoring opportunities, but the return of Sidney Crosby (at least to practice) allowed Sullivan to move Kessel back to his original slot. The former Leaf has three points (1G, 2A) and a minus-3 rating in six games.
Kessel practiced at right wing on a line centered by Evgeni Malkin with Chris Kunitz on Saturday.
The "HBK" line will likely get back together at some point, but coach Mike Sullivan is looking to shake things up. Kessel has three power-play points (2G, 1A) through five games but has yet to pick up any even-strength points. Bryan Rust moves from Malkin's line to the line with Carl Hagelin and Nick Bonino.
Kessel netted a power-play goal for the second straight game Monday against the Avalanche.
He's becoming the de facto go-to shooter on Pittsburgh's power play, especially with Sidney Crosby sidelined. Kessel completed an inconsistent regular season in his first year with Pittsburgh last year before turning it on in the postseason. It's conceivable that the big year so many predicted for the winger in the summer of 2015 comes true in 2016-17 -- he's off to a great start with two goals and a game-deciding shootout score in three games.