Kessel shines again in Leafs' win

Monday, 09.27.2010 / 11:53 PM / Roundup

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Kessel shines again in Leafs' win
Phil Kessel scored his third and fourth goals of the preseason as the Maple Leafs earned a 5-4 victory against the Buffalo Sabres.
Phil Kessel sure seems ready for the regular season.

Kessel scored his third and fourth goals of the preseason and Nikolai Kulemin also scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs earned a 5-4 victory against the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre on Monday night.

Kessel, who was acquired from Boston in the deal that ultimately made Tyler Seguin a Bruin, also had another goal that was waved off in overtime on Friday. Christian Hanson also scored for Toronto (3-2-1).

The Leafs' lineup that dressed Monday was quite similar to the one that will take the ice for the regular-season opener on Oct. 7 against Montreal. Kessel is skating with Kris Versteeg and Tyler Bozak.

"This is going to be a project for Phil to find the open holes," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "He's not used to playing with someone who will slow the play down like that and find him. Phil's got to be not too fast ... with Kris it looks like Kris wants to carry it in and shut it down and go back against the flow of the play ... I think they're starting to find the chemistry."

Nathan Gerbe scored twice, and Drew Stafford and Jordan Leopold also had goals for the Sabres (1-1-0).

Predators 2, Thrashers 1

Shea Weber scored a power-play goal and added an assist as Nashville edged Atlanta at the Bridgestone Arena.

Sergei Kostitsyn scored the first goal of the game 3:06 into the first period with a tip-in off of a shot by Weber from high above the right circle.

Ben Eager got the Thrashers even at 15:30 of the second period when he scored with a wrist shot from a few feet in front of the crease.

With Nashville on a power play, Weber gave the Predators a 2-1 lead 11:02 into the third when he blasted a shot from just inside the blue line that went through traffic and past goalie Ondrej Pavelec. Weber's goal was the first on the power play for Nashville in four preseason games.

Pavelec and Nashville counterpart Pekka Rinne went the distance in goal. Pavelec stopped 29 shots, and Rinne made 21 saves.

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.

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For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.

— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday
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