TORONTO - Phil Kessel had a goal and two assists to help the Toronto Maple Leafs rally for a 4-3 shootout victory over the Winnipeg Jets last night.
Kessel extended his NHL lead in goals and points on a night in which Toronto appeared headed for its first regulation loss after falling behind 3-1 midway through the second period. He has seven goals and 12 points in five games.
Joffrey Lupul scored twice in regulation for Toronto (4-0-1), which starts its first trip of the season against the Bruins tonight.
Kessel failed to score in the shootout, but Lupul and Matt Frattin made sure it didn’t matter by beating Ondrej Pavelec.
Mark Scheifele and Tobias Enstrom and Alexander Burmistrov scored in regulation for Winnipeg (1-3-1).
The Maple Leafs struggled in the first two periods, managing just 12 shots while getting serenaded with boos during disorganized stretches with the man advantage.
That changed quickly with power-play goals 27 seconds apart early in the third period. Lupul’s shot deflected off Enstrom’s stick and past Pavelec at 7:28, and Kessel one-timed Dion Phaneuf’s pass to tie it at 3 at 7:55.
He leapt into the arms of teammates as the Air Canada Centre came alive.
Toronto has received almost all of its offense from the first line of Kessel, Lupul and Tyler Bozak while earning 9 of a possible 10 points to start the season.
It began as a promising night for Winnipeg in its first visit to a Canadian city. A number of fans turned up wearing Jets sweaters and the Leafs rolled out the welcome mat with a scoreboard tribute during a stoppage in play early in the first period.