Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/22/13
Let the David Clarkson era begin. And not a moment too soon? Not quite. When Clarkson finally becomes a Maple Leaf for real on Friday night in Columbus his 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to take part in a meaningless brawl in a meaningless pre-season game over he will join a club that carved seven wins out of the first three weeks of the regular season. Just hope that he doesn’t bang his shin jumping on the Phil Kessel bandwagon. Kessel on the periphery for too much of nine games found his stride in a big way on Tuesday night recording his fourth National Hockey League career hat trick as the Leafs beat Randy Carlyle’s former team the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 at the Air Canada Centre. Kessel caused a torrent of hats to hit the ice at 8:11 of the third period when he slammed a 2-on-1 pass from James van Riemsdyk behind Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller. The hat trick was Kessel’s fourth in the NHL and first since Oct. 8 2011 against Ottawa. The outburst — Kessel had scored just two goals in 2013-14 prior to Tuesday — ensured the Leafs snapped a two-game losing skid and also put an end to the Ducks’ seven-game winning streak. Jonathan Bernier in his second start in a row stopped 23 of 25 Anaheim shots. The Leafs who had 23 shots were outshot for the eighth time. Before a crowd of 19408 captain Dion Phaneuf also scored for the Leafs. Nick Bonino and Mathieu Perreault scored for the Ducks Kessel’s bit of magic — in front of Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli no less who was scouting for the Canadian Olympic team — turned the tide on a game that the Leafs appeared to have little interest in winning. Twenty minutes don’t tell the whole story certainly not in the game of hockey but let’s be truthful: The Leafs looked like they were toast after one period. The Ducks held the Leafs to a season-low two shots on goal and had a 1-0 lead thanks to Bonino who converted a 2-on-1 pass from Patrick Maroon with less than three minutes remaining. The Leafs had nothing going offensively though they did hold the Ducks to six shots.
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