Phil Kessel, who's now a two-time Stanley Cup champion, amassed 23 goals, 47 helpers, and a career-high 30 power-play points during the 2016-17 regular season, and he also factored into 23 scoring plays during the playoffs. The sniper averaged 17:56 of ice time per contest -- third among Pens' forwards, behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- which actually was a slight drop in rink-run compared to his previous seasons. Still, prospective fantasy owners concerned about Kessel's minutes should consider that he hasn't missed a game since the 2009-10 season. Much maligned in Toronto, the 29-year-old continues to thrive in Pittsburgh, as the pressure of being the No. 1 guy falls on Crosby's shoulders and not his own. Phil the Thrill, indeed.
Kessel scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup Finals and added two assists in Thursday's Game 5 win over Nashville. It was a perfect shot from Kessel, who hadn't scored since Game 5 against the Senators. While he hadn't been finding twine, Kessel has been a threat all postseason, racking up 23 points in 24 games. The sniper has actually surpassed his output from last season's Cup-winning run, and he and Evgeni Malkin have often been flat-out dominant. The Penguins are one win away from another Stanley Cup thanks in no small part to Kessel playing a key role once again.
Kessel registered an assist during Wednesday's Game 2 win over Nashville to reach the 20-point mark for the second consecutive postseason. The winger has cooled off a bit with just two goals and seven points through his past 11 games, but Kessel is now up to 30 tallies and 33 helpers over 67 career playoff games. Registering 20 playoff points in consecutive seasons is quite an impressive feat; Kessel often flies under the radar with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin garnering more attention and headlines, but No. 81 remains an integral part of Pittsburgh's attack.
Kessel contributed a primary assist on the power play in Wednesday's Game 3 loss to the Senators. Phil the Thrill had his shot deflected into the cage by Sidney Crosby, but it was a third-period setup and hardly a consolation for his team taking a 5-1 loss on the road. Still, Kessel's garnered points in back-to-back games, remaining a reliable contributor for fantasy players still contending in playoff pools.
Kessel scored the winning goal on his only shot on net during Monday's Game 2 win over Ottawa. Offensive momentum was building for Kessel, as he had seven shots through his past two games without marking the scoresheet in either outing. However, it didn't look promising for the majority of Monday's game. Kessel was visibly frustrated on multiple occasions through the first two periods, and he failed to make much of an impact. His third-period goal was enough to secure the 1-0 win, though, and Kessel is now up to six goals and 14 points through 14 postseason games.
Kessel scored his fifth goal of the playoffs Saturday in a 4-2 loss to the Capitals. Phil the Thrill has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 10 postseason games. If we had any quibble with his performance, it would be with his shot total. Kessel was quiet Saturday with just a single shot; he had just two the game before. But like so many other offensive players, Kessel is more productive when he takes more shots. Nine of Phil's points this postseason have come when he fired four or more shots (five games).
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
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