for this game

Keesel's hat trick helps Leafs hold off Senators

Oct 9, 2011 - 2:29 AM
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Phil Kessel completed his hat trick with a third-period score that helped the Maple Leafs hold on for a 6-5 victory over the Ottawa Senators at Air Canada Centre.

Joffrey Lupul scored and had two assists for Toronto, which tallied the game's first four goals and held a 5-1 lead shortly into the third period. But three consecutive Senators scores made it a tight game.

Kessel provided some breathing room with 2:19 to play -- a necessary score, given Ottawa rookie Stephane Da Costa recorded his first career goal only 25 seconds later.

But Toronto held on in the wild finish to stay unbeaten. The Leafs opened their season Thursday with a 2-0 victory against Montreal.

James Reimer made 32 saves in that shutout win and was strong through two periods Saturday, stopping all 16 shots he faced. But he was peppered with 16 shots in the third and let in all five goals.

Craig Anderson, Ottawa's starting goaltender, gave up four goals on 24 shots through two periods. Alex Auld allowed two goals in the third period as the Senators' comeback effort fell short, dropping them to 0-2-0.

They lost Friday at Detroit, 5-3, to start their 2011-12 season. The Senators scored all three of their goals in the third period, and put together another late rush Saturday.

Daniel Alfredsson got it started with a shorthanded goal at the 11:04 point of the period.

Several minutes later, a number of penalties on Toronto gave Ottawa a 5-on-3 chance, and Jason Spezza took advantage with 4:24 to play.

The Senators still had a power play after that score, and Alfredsson needed only eight seconds to pull them within one.

However, Kessel stopped Ottawa's scoring string with his third goal of the contest.

It gave Toronto a seemingly comfortable 6-4 edge with only a few minutes to play, but Da Costa quickly made it a one-goal game again. Erik Karlsson faked a shot from the right point and instead sent a cross-ice pass to Da Costa by the left circle, and Da Costa wasted little time in putting the puck past Reimer.

The Senators emptied their net in a last-ditch attempt to net the equalizer, but Reimer didn't allow it as the Leafs held on.

Toronto dominated the first 40 minutes, getting on the board with Mikhail Grabovski's power-play one-timer with 7:02 left in the opening frame. Kessel's wrister from the slot made it 2-0 late in the period.

The Leafs capitalized on another power play nearly eight minutes into the second period, when Lupul re-directed John-Michael Liles' blast from the center point.

Kessel's second tally of the contest pushed the lead to four with 1:11 to go. He carried the puck from the left boards through the circle and stick-handled the puck briefly before burying it by the left post.

Colin Greening put Ottawa on the board 1:42 into the third with a wrister during a Senators rush. But Toronto's Colton Orr responded a little more than a minute later with a snap shot.

Game Notes

Kessel added an assist and matched a career high in points for a game. He recorded his third career hat trick and first with Toronto. Kessel notched hat tricks for Boston on October 12, 2007 and April 12, 2009, and joined the Leafs for the 2009-10 season...Karlsson finished with three assists.