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Kessel's Dash Wins It

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Matt Iaboni

February 22, 2011
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, ON
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For the second consecutive game, it looked like overtime and possibly a shootout was in the works but then Phil Kessel changed that.

With less than five minutes left, Kessel charged through the neutral zone, cut through the Isles' blueline, used Andrew MacDonald as a screen and unleashed a shot through Al Montoya as Tyler Bozak stood near by. It was Kessel's fourth goal in four games and it stood up as the winner.

14-4-1 Leafs' record this season when Phil Kessel scores.
2 Straight wins for the Leafs over the Islanders.
56 Hits in the game between the Leafs and Islanders.
18 Goals for Clarke MacArthur, a new career-high.
62 Per cent on faceoffs for the Leafs on the night.
1st Star
James Reimer
29 28 1 60:00 .966
2nd Star
Al Montoya
25 23 2 58:42 .920
3rd Star
Phil Kessel
G A P +/- Shots
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James Reimer's brilliance continued in the Leafs' dramatic win. Reimer made some big saves, none bigger than when he robbed Jack Hillen with his glove early in the third. He finished with 28 saves.

Reimer hasn't had a lot of offence to work with lately as the Leafs have scored just eight goals in his last four games. The good news is they have won three of those contests. He loves playing at home as in his five starts he has allowed five goals and has two shutouts.

Colby Armstrong returned to the lineup after missing the past four games with blurry vision. It was a successful return as he was plus one in 17:04 of ice-time with two hits, two takeaways and a blocked shot.

Armstrong also had a great hit on Michael Haley in the third that seemed to get both teams going. Armstrong's presence in the lineup is well noted and he is one of the leaders on the young team. He was rewarded by being named an alternate captain.

The Leafs' penalty killing has been much improved in their past eight games. Over that stretch the Leafs have killed off 84.2 per cent of penalties which would rank them seventh in the NHL.

One of the reasons for the success has been the willingness to block shots, playing the passing lanes and being more aggressive. Tim Brent and Bozak have been very good. Luke Schenn, Carl Gunnarsson and Keith Aulie have done well logging lots of minutes.

Ron Wilson on the catalyst behind the Leafs overcoming the Islanders:
"I think the key to the game for us was definitely James (Reimer) in goal. He played great and made himself big. The goal they scored, he had no chance on it. I thought he played a great game.”

Thursday, February 24 @ Montreal Canadiens
7:30 PM ET (Sportsnet, AM640)

Game Notes:
The Leafs travel to Montreal for a rare mid-week meeting with the Montreal Canadiens. This will be the fifth meeting and the final game in Montreal this season.

The Leafs have yet to win or score in Montreal this season. The Canadiens will be playing their first game back from a Western Canada road trip.

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