How is this for a potential angle — Phil Kessel coming back to haunt the Toronto Maple Leafs, his former team, as they look to clinch a playoff spot in the final weekend of the regular season?
With a win versus the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, the Maple Leafs are in. They would lock up a post-season berth with a young and talented core led up front by Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.
Of course, the Penguins and Kessel have a chance to spoil the party.
Kessel, who played 446 regular season games for Toronto before being traded to Pittsburgh in a blockbuster — and ripped in the media — and was part of the Maple Leafs’ shocking playoff collapse in 2013, opened the scoring just 6:11 into the first period.
He deployed that terrific wrist shot past the blocker of Frederik Andersen, giving Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.
Anxious Maple Leafs fans quickly rejoiced 29 seconds later, though, as James van Riemsdyk scored to tie the game, showing tremendous hand-eye coordination and a pretty good wrist shot of his own.
The play was reviewed for a possible offside, but the goal stood.