Toronto Maple Leafs: Phil Kessel’s Top 10 Goals (Video)


Toronto Maple Leafs: Phil Kessel’s Top 10 Goals (Video)

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The Toronto Maple Leafs closed the book on the Phil Kessel era when they dealt him to the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 1st. However his time in Toronto was one that will leave an empty feeling.

For six years, the Leafs wasted the talents of an elite goal scorer. So for once, instead of talking about the negative aspects of Kessel’s time in Toronto, let’s look back and try to remember some of his good times as a member of the Blue and White.

10. Playoff Breakaway Goal

A memorable goal not just because it came against the Boston Bruins, but because of the electric atmosphere during that first round series.

9. Charging into the Net Against the New Jersey Devils

There were rare occasions where Kessel would do whatever it took to score. This play was one of those such moments, where Phil would lay it all out in order to get a goal. He could have seriously hurt himself, but I guess he did not care.

8. Penalty Shot Versus Eddie Lack

It was rare to see Kessel go to his backhand, as he is primarily a shooter. This fooled Eddie Lack easily as Kessel gets him to go low, before burying it top shelf.

7. Toe Drag Move Versus the Florida Panthers

I cannot recall another time where Kessel used the toe drag to quickly elude a defenceman, but in this case the goal showed how quick he could get a shot off. It is too bad he did not try this more often.

6. Brushes Off Robyn Regher to Tie the Game

A rare case where you could not call Kessel weak (or fat) as he brushes off Robyn Regehr, who is a big tough defenceman.

5. Top Shelf Breakaway Goal After Alley-oop Pass from James van Riemsdyk

Kessel’s connection with James van Riemsdyk rejuvenated him, as he had a top tier forward to play with, and the two combined for many goals. The timing and shot make this a beautiful goal.

4. Scores in Tight Against the Bruins

At the time, Kessel was knocked for his inability to produce against his former team. Here, he did a great job controlling the puck and getting it by Tim Thomas, who was having a pretty good season for the Bruins.

3. Collects His Own Rebound and Buries it Against the Atlanta Thrashers

Another instance where Kessel’s quickness allowed his to elude defenders. However, what made this goal even nicer was the fact he takes the time to survey his options and ultimately decides to do it all himself.

2. Top Shelf Goal Versus the Chicago Blackhawks

This is a personal favourite, as I recall watching this game and appreciating how hard this goal was for Kessel. He was not that close to the net and yet he placed the shot perfectly.

1. End to End Beauty Against the Devils

Even if it looked awkward, this goal was a great display of Kessel’s quickness, as he made many Devils defenders miss him while shielding the puck.

This probably does not help when it comes to forgetting Kessel’s time in Toronto, but the fact of the matter is that he was a star for the team and relied on a lot. It will be hard for some fans to see him in Pittsburgh, especially if he scores 40+ goals and the Leafs have a hard time finding the net.

Hopefully what this does is avoid pinning all the blame on Kessel and makes people realize how much management mishandled his time here. Unfortunately Leafs fans, this probably will not be the last Kessel article that this site produces, but we hope that better things will come moving forward.

Is there a goal that should have made the top 10? You can watch all of Kessel’s goals that he scored with the Leafs like I did here and decide.

Fair warning to all that watching almost an hour of Kessel lighting the lamp, may bring some unwanted emotions and anger. For Pittsburgh Penguins fans it will be a nice preview of what it will be like to have a world class sniper play with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, a though which still makes me shiver.

Next: Will the Leafs defence get older under Babcock?