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Bruins vs Maple Leafs

Kessel has Toronto fans singing his praise

Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 2:30 PM

By Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent / Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

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Kessel has Toronto fans singing his praise

TORONTO -- Phil Kessel is used to hearing chants of, "Thank you, Kessel! … Thank you, Kessel!"

But that's when his Toronto Maple Leafs are playing the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston, where he got his start in the NHL. Kessel joined Toronto in a trade Sept. 18, 2009, and the Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup less than two years later. Bruins fans love to jeer the Maple Leafs' top goal-scoring threat.

Phil Kessel
Right Wing - TOR
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 2
SOG: 10 | +/-: 0
So it was with pure delight that Kessel heard the same chant, "Thank you, Kessel! … Thank you, Kessel!" from the rabid fans in Toronto during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Monday. It was their way of showing appreciation for his offensive exploits.

"The fans here have always been great to me," Kessel said. "I love playing in this city. We have great fans and they supported us well Monday night."

That was the good news. So was the third-period goal he scored, his second goal in as many games. The bad news was he gave the puck away in the second period that led to a shorthanded goal by Boston's Daniel Paille and in the third period was goaded into taking a penalty by Bruins pest Brad Marchand.

Regarding the giveaway, Kessel said, "I made a bad play. I didn't think the guy was right there, and he intercepted the puck and went off on a breakaway."

As for his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following a scuffle with Marchand, Kessel said it's all just part of the game.

"I didn't think it was a big deal," he said. "It's just battling hard out there and it gets heated. He's a good hockey player and he battles hard out there."

Quote of the Day

After being through it and seeing the other [outdoor] games on TV, just the atmosphere is spectacular. To stand here -- and we are essentially almost on the blue line -- and look up [into the stands] and knowing it is going to be packed and playing our biggest rival in this setting is going to be pretty special.

— Bruins president Cam Neely on the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between Boston and Montreal at Gillette Stadium on
Jan. 1, 2016