Toronto Maple Leafs take on Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins for first time since off-season trade

 

 
 
 
 
Penguins' Phil Kessel will play the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday for the first time since being traded in the summer.
 
 

Penguins' Phil Kessel will play the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday for the first time since being traded in the summer.

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel went to his locker stall and as he expected, saw large media contingent gathered after his morning skate.

So far this year, the Penguins are starved for offence, having scored just five goals through four regular season games. Kessel is among three players in a tie for the team scoring lead with a goal and an assist through four games.

Kessel has been in control of the puck for the majority of his time in Pittsburgh. Armed with regular linemates Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, Kessel has fired 16 shots on net, tied with defenceman Kristopher Letang for the team high.

“I want him to shoot as much as he can,” said Penguins head coach Mike Johnston. “The real key thing for players of that level is that they hit the 300+ shots in the year.”

Kessel’s shot has been a strength throughout his career. However, his new Penguins teammates are seeing a different dimension to his game they weren’t aware of.

“His play-making. That’s the biggest thing,” said Crosby of Kessel. “His passes and his ability to read the play. We always see his shot and we always see his goals, it’s so dangerous. But that was the part I felt was the most underrated.”

 
 
 
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Penguins' Phil Kessel will play the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday for the first time since being traded in the summer.
 

Penguins' Phil Kessel will play the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday for the first time since being traded in the summer.

 
Penguins' Phil Kessel will play the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday for the first time since being traded in the summer.
Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel celebrate after Kessel scored a second-period goal against the Arizona Coyotes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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