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Phil Thrilled Lucky Garden Crowd

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
On a night where many expected Chicago's Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to overawe everyone in the building, for the third time this season (in only nine games), Phil Kessel quietly, and dramatically, picked his team up, put them on his back and won them an important two points.

However, if you listened to Phil you would never know that he had scored two NESN SportsDesk leading goals. To Kessel, it was just your average workday, made better of course, by the Boston Bruins big win.

"We are playing pretty good hockey," said the 20-year old. "We are six and three and we need to keep working hard and continue to get better."

Kessel again claimed luck on both of his spectacular rink length skates to the net.

"I shot it at the net and was fortunate that it went in," he said of his second goal.

Hmmm. If that's luck, I'll have what he's having -- there is no way that luck accounts for Kessel's puck prowess this season.

"I was a little lucky," repeated Kessel. "I had a feeling that there was an opening there.  I tried making a move and he went where I wanted him to go and I was fortunate that it went in the net."

We're not buying it.

Speaking this time of his first goal, Phil said, "I shot it at the net and was fortunate that it went in. I was trying to use (the defenseman) for a screen but I didn’t really see it go in.

"I just made a little inside-out move and got to see the goalie."

Again, luck might put people in a circumstance, but skill buries the opportunity.

And hey, there were glimpses of this last season, particularly when the Bruins went to a shootout. But this year, Kessel has begun to show more and more of his ice-bound genius, and it has been a joy to watch.

Last night's heroics, coming as they did on Hockey Fight's Cancer Night at the TD Banknorth Garden, were the exclamation point to the whole evening and provided a poignant coda to the event.

Boston Bruins' Philip Kessel, right, celebrates his goal with Andrew Ference (21) in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007, in Boston. Boston won 3-1. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Asked if he thought Kessel had turned it up a notch, knowing that Chicago's youngsters were coming into his building with an awful lot of hype, his head coach answered in the affirmative.

"There's no doubt," said Boston bench boss Claude Julien. "We had mentioned that (possibility) before the game, and we knew Phil was going to take this as a pretty good challenge. 

"We were hoping that he was going to respond well.

"But I think as you saw tonight, when Phil is given an opportunity to score, he’s a pretty gifted player in that area."

Gifted may be an understatement. Lucky is an understatement. Talented is also an understatement.

Phil "The Thrill" Kessel. That sounds just about right.
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