Phil Kessel

Leafs pull off win in Long Island after sluggish start

Leaf scorers: van Riemsdyk (3), Kessel 2 (4), Polak (1), Clarkson (2)
Islander scorers: Leddy (3), Tavares (3)

Goalies: Bernier (Win, 60:00 minutes played, 30 saves, 2 GA)

Tuesday evening saw the Leafs face off against the soaring Islanders who have had an impressive start to the regular season. It looked as though the Leafs were in for a long night as it took Nick Leddy less than three minutes to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead. It was clear that the Leafs were struggling to compose themselves after the early goal and couldn’t seem to get their play together.

Despite the sloppy effort, the Leafs were back in the game just eight minutes later on a goal by James van Riemsdyk. But it wasn’t long after that the Leafs were in penalty trouble, something that also plagued them in their game against the Wings on Saturday. John Tavares gave his team the lead again on a powerplay goal with just 5 minutes remaining in the period.

The Leafs couldn’t get back on the board throughout much of the second and were still unable to stay out of the penalty box. But they were intent to prove that they were still in the game and would finally tie it up on a goal by Phil Kessel just as the period reached the half-way mark.

Kessel’s tying goal seemed to be just what the Leafs needed in order to get the momentum back in their favour and Roman Polak scored his first goal as a Leaf just two minutes later, giving the Leafs their first lead of the game.

It was evident that their regretful first period was completely behind the Leafs when David Clarkson added to their lead. They were in full control of the game when Kessel scored his second goal of the night two minutes before the period expired.

With a 5-2 lead heading into the third, the team seemed more relaxed and the period was relatively uneventful. The Leafs seemed to be letting up a few times and a frustrated Randy Carlyle called a time out in an effort to settle his team to ensure they could hold onto their lead.

David Clarkson appeared to score his second goal of the game within the final minute, but it was eventually confirmed that the puck was kicked in the net upon further review. The score remained a 5-2 victory for the Leafs.

Jonathan Bernier spoke to the media after the game about his teams’ ability to rebound after the first period. “They came out really hard, they were banging and trying everything. But I liked our focus. Even though we got hit quite a bit in the first, we stuck with it and we scored some good goals.”

The Leafs will head to Ottawa for a match up against the Senators on Wednesday night.

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