By Steve Keating
A red-hot Phil Kessel had a hand in three Toronto goals, scoring once and adding a pair of assists as the Maple Leafs continued their sizzling start to the National Hockey League (NHL) season by notching their fourth win in five games.
The three-point night left Kessel as the NHL's top scorer with 12 points in five games.
"He's a streaky player and he's on a good one right now," Leafs coach Ron Wilson told reporters. "I don't see any holes in his game right now. He wants the puck all the time and he's getting it."
Back in Toronto for the first time in 15 years, the reborn Jets and the Maple Leafs renewed a rivalry that had appeared dead when the franchise relocated to Phoenix in 1996.
A night dripping with nostalgia got off to a sloppy start for the Leafs as the Jets opened the scoring midway through the opening period with their first power play goal of the season, Tobias Enstrom blasting a shot past a screened James Reimer.
Lupul, on pretty setup from Kessel, answered for Toronto before the end of the period but the Jets were out quickly again in the second, Russian Alex Burmistrov and rookie Mark Scheifele notching their first of the campaign to put the visitors up 3-1.
Toronto's top line went to work in the third period with a pair of powerplay goals, Lupul notching his second of the night and Kessel following 27 seconds later with his league leading seventh of the season.
"It seemed like the goal we needed on the powerplay because we were really struggling and that one went in and we started really moving the puck around well," said Lupul. "So it was good on us to regroup but not the way we want to win every night."
Lupul beat Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec with the first goal of the shootout and Matt Frattin sealed it after Winnipeg missed their chances.
"Right now things are going in for us so hopefully it keeps going," said Kessel. "We got the win, that's what we play for. We got a tough game tomorrow."
After easing into the season with five home games in two weeks, including a full week off, the pace picks up for the Leafs as they travel to Boston to take on Kessel's former team the Stanley Cup champion Bruins on Thursday.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)