Phil Kessel scored twice to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers on Monday night to open an important home-and-home series between the Eastern Conference rivals.
Kessel scored his first goals in 10 games as Toronto remained fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, moving four points ahead of idle Ottawa with their fifth win in six games.
Derek Stepan pulled New York into a 3-3 tie at 9:00 of the third period, converting a 2-on-1 break for his 14th of the season just as a Leafs' power play expired. But Kessel put Toronto back ahead just 39 seconds later with his 12th of the season.
The victory was redemption for Toronto, which couldn't hold a 2-0 lead against New York at the Air Canada Centre on Jan. 26 en route to dropping a 5-2 decision.
The Rangers remain tied with the idle New York Islanders for seventh in the Eastern Conference with 42 points.
Toronto is chasing its first playoff berth since 2003-04 and visits New York on Wednesday night in ...