TORONTO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Phil Kessel blasted a hat-trick as the Toronto Maple Leafs stormed back to claim a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday and end the visitors franchise record seven game winning streak.
Kessel's fourth career hat-trick impressed the soldout crowd who showered the ice with baseball caps and no doubt caught the attention of U.S. Olympic team scout Don Waddell, who was in attendance at the Air Canada Centre.
"Pure goal scorers find ways to get pucks directed towards the net," said Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, who also coached the Ducks to their only Stanley Cup before joining Toronto.
"If you look where the goals were scored from it was a lot different from the outside, these goals were scored from tough areas. There's a difference."
Kessel's outburst stole the spotlight for another prolific scorer, Ducks' 43-year-old winger Teemu Selanne, who is retiring at the end of the season.
The Finn, who was on a three-game scoring streak, was kept off the score sheet as the Ducks began their eight-game road trip with their first defeat since a season-opening loss to Colorado.
The Ducks jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals from Nick Bonino and Mathieu Perreault before Toronto, who had managed just one shot in the opening 17 minutes, broke out of their offensive slumber midway through the second period with Kessel notching his first on a power play.
Defenseman Dion Phaneuf pulled the Leafs level just 79 seconds later before Kessel collected his second to put Toronto ahead.
"Those were serious goal-scorer goals," said Phaneuf in praising Kessel.
"He didn't have a lot of room on two out of the three.
"He found a way to put the puck in the net. That's what he does, and that's why he's one of the top players in the league.
"It's a huge game for our team to come back from two goals down."
Kessel completed his hat-trick on a nice setup by James van Riemsdyk, who assisted on two of the goals.
"JVR (van Riemsdyk) made two great passes to me and I was fortunate enough to bury both of them," said Kessel.
"It was a good night." (Reporting by Steve Keating; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Phil Kessel
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Anaheim Ducks