Kessel, Van Riemsdyk shine as Leafs best Rangers

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It seemed like the Phil Kessel – James van Riemsdyk combo stepped out of the limelight when Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri were tearing it up. With Lupul out, it seems like the Toronto Maple Leafs’ other big duo is coming through, especially in a 4-3 win against the New York Rangers on Monday.

(That’s not to say Kadri has become irrelevant; he had a point tonight, too.)

Kessel scored two goals (including the game-winner midway through the third period) and an assist while JVR had one goal and a helper himself. That allowed Toronto to out-duel the Blueshirts despite another strong game from Rick Nash, who scored two of New York’s three tallies.

This win gives the Buds 48 points in 39 games, securing themselves fairly comfortably in fifth place in the East (which will likely mean that the Leafs will face either the Boston Bruins or Montreal Canadiens in round one of the playoffs).

This leaves the New York Rangers with an identical record to the New York Islanders at 19-16-4 for 42 points in 39 games. They’re still in the East’s top eight, but lost a chance to put heat on the Ottawa Senators for the sixth seed.