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Kessel scores deja vu OT winner

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

As the unnamed narrator in the film Fight Club said, "It's like déjà vu all over again."

Pens winger Phil Kessel scored. Again. In overtime. Again. In a Pittsburgh 2-1 win. Again.

Two days after Kessel scored a breakaway game-winning goal in overtime against Edmonton for a 2-1 win, Kessel scored a breakaway game-winning goal in overtime against Winnipeg for a 2-1 win, both at PPG Paints Arena.

"Sometimes you get lucky out there," Kessel said. "I got two breakaways in overtime and was fortunate enough to get them in."

Kessel, who had nine shots in the contest, only had one thought going through his head as he eyed up the net behind Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.

"Hopefully I score," he laughed. "I'm just reading and reacting."

Kessel did, indeed, score. But scoring is what he's done his entire career. Kessel's winner against Winnipeg was his 300th career goal in the NHL, an incredible accomplishment.

The Wisconsin native also became just the second American-born player to reach the 300 milestone (Zach Parise, 318).

"I've played a lot of games in this league," Kessel said. "It's nice to get 300 goals, but I'm just happy to help my team win."

Most impressive about Kessel's overtime goal wasn't even the goal. It was his defensive play to intercept the puck from Jets winger Patrik Laine. And then, from a standstill, he was able to retrieve the puck and outskate the speedy Laine in a race toward the Winnipeg goal.

"He has a knack to score big goals at key times," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "What was impressive about the goal tonight was that he was at a dead stop when he picked that pass off. He created enough separation to get a really good shot off.

"That's a testament to Phil's work ethic throughout the course of training camp. Phil's in as good of shape as he's been as a Penguin. That's a credit to him to create that separation."

Kessel's overtime goals have also been followed by a playful face wash from teammate Ryan Reaves. A tradition both men hope to continue.

"Every time he scores I give him a nice face wash," Reaves joked. "I mugged him today. It was bad."

"He's given it to me a couple times out there," Kessel said with a smile. "If we win that's fine."

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