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Penguins' Kessel to play first game back in Toronto

NHL.com @NHL

Phil Kessel on Saturday will play his first game as an opponent in Toronto since he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 1 (7 p.m. ET; CBC, NHLN, ROOT).

The forward played six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and faced them Oct. 17 at Consol Energy Center, when the Penguins won 2-1.

Phil Kessel
Right Wing - PIT
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 6
SOG: 35 | +/-: 0
"He's done a good job with us," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford told TSN 1050 Toronto radio Friday. "He fits in as a person; he's really actually a fun guy to be around. ... As for his play, he's been good. He's been responsible both ends of the rink and he's scored two [game-winning] goals for us. And he's played pretty well."

Kessel has four goals and two assists in 10 games this season and brings a three-game point streak into Saturday. He started the season playing on a line with Sidney Crosby as his center but recently has played more with Evgeni Malkin as the Penguins try to find the right chemistry and more scoring; they entered play Friday 27th in the NHL at 2.00 goals per game.

"We're going through that now," Rutherford told "Leafs Lunch." "I think we're getting closer to where we want to be. We're still a little ways away from it. But to your point on our power play, that's what we do. We try to get too cute and we're making some nice plays but they don't end up in the net.

"I think when Phil and Sid played together they did a good job getting each other the puck. But they were, I think, overdoing it at times where they're getting each other the puck and it really wasn't what was being presented on that certain shift. But with that being said, they were still creating a lot of scoring chances and not getting a lot of luck around the net.

"... We've made some changes here, actually quite a few changes, and we're still feeling our way to get to that chemistry that we'll eventually get to."

Crosby has one goal in 10 games, and was held without a point in eight of his first nine, the longest such stretch of his NHL career. He had two assists Thursday in a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres and has five points this season.

"I think he's handled the situation well. I think overall he's played fine and now it's just a matter of time before the points start going in," Rutherford said. "... He's set up a lot of scoring opportunities that didn't get converted."

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