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Kessel ends drought with third-period goal as Leafs beats Jets 3-2

Thursday, 02.07.2013 / 11:05 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Kessel ends drought with third-period goal as Leafs beats Jets 3-2

WINNIPEG - Phil Kessel scored his first goal of the season late in the third period to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 on Thursday night.

Tyler Bozak scored shorthanded and Matt Frattin added a goal for the Leafs (6-5-0), who won their second straight of a three-game road trip. Kessel's goal ended a frustrating drought for the top-line winger who had 37 goals last season.

Zach Redmond and Grant Clitsome scored for the Jets (4-5-1), who have lost four of their last five games.

There was no scoring the first period but the Jets came out fast and hard with four shots on goal before the Leafs had one — no repeat of Tuesday's flat start against the Panthers.

Redmond, from the Jets' AHL farm team, scored his first NHL goal thanks to a 2-on-1 short-handed breakaway initiated by Bryan Little, who fed him a cross-ice pass the rookie fired past James Reimer's glove hand.

Dion Phaneuf was the only Leaf between the two Jets and Toronto's Manitoba-born goaltender.

But three minutes later, a mistake by Jets defenceman Paul Postma handed Bozak a 1-on-1 short-handed shootout with Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec.

Clitsome put the Jets ahead in the third with a bullet slapped from just inside the blue-line that beat Reimer's glove hand again. It was his second of the short season and a little reminiscent of the kind of shot injured defenceman Dustin Byfuglien can unleash.

Cody Franson fired a shot that Frattin got credit for as the puck glanced off him past a downed Pavelec to tie the game at 14:58.

Kessel popped in Bozak's drop pass less than a minute later after the Jets took a holding penalty.

Pavelec stopped 15 shots while Reimer made 23 saves.

The Jets went 0-for-4 on the power-play.

Notes: The Jets leading scorer this season, defenceman Tobias Enstrom, went into Thursday's game riding a new career point streak and extended it to eight with another assist against the Leafs.

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This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares