Kessel's hat trick lifts Maple Leafs to 6th straight win at home, 6-3 over Senators
TORONTO – Phil Kessel scored three goals, and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Ottawa Senators 6-3 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win at home.
With 5:59 left, Tyler Bozak fed a pass to Kessel, who scored his 30th goal of the season to complete his hat trick and give Toronto a 4-3 lead.
Kessel is second in the NHL in goals this season. Toronto's (30-21-6) streak is its longest since the Maple Leafs concluded the 2006-07 season with 10 straight home victories. They have won five straight over Ottawa.
Bozak stretched the lead to two goals with 1:33 remaining, one-timing a pass from Kessel past Craig Anderson for his 11th goal. Nazem Kadri added an empty-netter with 28 seconds to go. Joffrey Lupul also scored for Toronto.
Chris Neil scored two goals, and Colin Greening added one for Ottawa (24-21-10).
Kessel gave Toronto its first lead at 7:34 of the third period on a power play. He beat Anderson to the top corner with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.
Cody Franson earned his 100th career assist on the goal.
Neil tied it 3-3 at 9:06 jamming in a loose puck. The goal was reviewed before it was determined the puck inched over the line for Neil's eighth of the season.
Anderson made 32 saves. Jonathan Bernier stopped 23 shots in the win.
Ottawa had a 2-0 lead midway through the second period and had an excellent chance to extend it near the 11 minute mark as Erik Karlsson beat Bernier with a shot glove-side, but hit the post.
Toronto cut Ottawa's lead in half two minutes later as Kessel put in James van Riemsdyk's feed.
The Leafs completed the comeback at 14:39 of the middle frame. Kadri hit Senators defenseman Cody Ceci from behind, and then centered the loose puck to Lupul for his 17th goal. Despite Ottawa's protest, no penalty was called.
Ottawa took a 2-0 lead 6:46 into the second when Greening finished a 2-on-1 feed from Neil for his fifth goal.
Toronto had back-to-back, first-period power plays courtesy of consecutive Cory Conacher penalties. The Maple Leafs mustered just two shots.
Neil opened the scoring at 19:07 of the first, using Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly as a screen and beating Bernier glove-side for his seventh of the season and first in 12 games.
NOTES: Leafs forward Carter Ashton sat out because of a hand injury. ... Peter Holland missed his first game with what Toronto coach Randy Carlyle called a lace bite. ... Toronto's Frazer McLaren, who missed eight games with a shoulder injury, returned to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 14. ... Conacher played in his 100th NHL game. ... Ottawa D Chris Phillips missed his third straight game with a lower body injury. ... Referee Paul Devorski became the fifth official to work 1,500 NHL games.