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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kessel scores 3 in Leafs comeback

It's an axiom that your best players have to lead by example and produce results, and the Toronto Maple Leafs got well-rounded performances from Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Johnathan Bernier and other top players for the homeside tonight. After being down 2-0 early in the second period, the tide turned with the team killing off a two man short situation.

Kessel's power play goal from van Riemsdyk and Franson was followed less than a minute and a half later by Dion Phaneuf's blast to tie the game. A highlight reel top shelf (half snapper top cheddar) goal by Kessel put the Buds ahead and his Hat Trick marker (from JVR again) sealed the deal.

Bernier stopped 23 of 25 to up his record to 5-3 this NHL regular season.

Clarkson suspension overcome with goaltending and goals

Though Randy Carlyle and Joffrey Lupul surely enjoyed beating their former team, the biggest sigh of relief probably came from David Clarkson. His teammates survived his suspension with a 7-3 record, and with the slump broken, the pressure is off for Friday's likely return to the Toronto lineup.

Carter Ashton has already been returned to the Marlies and with Frazer McLaren, Nikolai Kulemin and Mark Fraser also expected back by early November, the extended training camp and Marlies-Leafs rotation is likely to slow for awhile. Josh Leivo seems the most likely to stick with the big club, though he can expect to be a healthy scratch as often as not.

Phase Two, the post-Clarkson era, begins with a visit to play the Columbus Blue Jackets in Ohio. The Jackets beat the Devils this evening, so we're hoping that bodes well for Toronto's chances of catching a contented team at home.

A three period effort in line with the final thirty-five minutes of tonight's game will make them competitive, and that's all Carlyle is asking. Put yourself in a position to compete and win, and good things will happen.

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