Kessel’s hat trick pushes Leafs by Ducks

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Despite firing 36 shots on goal in nine games, Phil Kessel came into Tuesday with just two goals. In a lot of ways, the Toronto Maple Leafs winger was almost as snake-bitten early this season as he was in 2013, but maybe tonight represents his breakthrough.

Kessel, 26, generated a hat trick on three shots to power the Leafs past the Anaheim Ducks 4-2.

Kessel’s first goal came 7:44 into the second period:

Later on in the middle frame, he collected his second, which ended up being the game-winner:

Finally, Kessel netted his third career hat trick about midway through the third:

As that beauty pointed out, Kessel continued his great chemistry with James van Riemsdyk, who assisted on two of his three tallies tonight.

The Leafs have to feel pretty good about how their team – and especially their star – fared after the Buds only generated two shots on goal in the first period of tonight’s eventual win.