Phil Kessel had the hat trick but consider Dion Phaneuf’s trilogy a pretty good night at the office.

One a game-high six hits a couple delivered on the Anaheim Ducks’ biggest or most productive forwards.

Two a goal to pull the Leafs even 2-2 his second of the season jumping into the play and getting the Air Canada Centre crowd back in the Leafs’ corner.

Three a lead role in a minute and 33-second kill of a 5-on-3 that came right after his goal with some of the best snipers in the NHL roaming the Leafs half of the ice at will.

“What a momentum swing” the captain said. “Our (4-for-4) penalty kill was the difference in the game.”

Coach Randy Carlyle was impressed too needing special teams to be a factor on a night when he accurately noted the Leafs were tripping over their own feet.

“Our defence played huge and our best penalty killer (Jay McClement) was in the box too” Carlyle said of the 5-on-3.

Toronto’s defence which is often highlighted for its deficiencies had a collectively strong closing 40 minutes.

“We’re going to need more of a contribution from all of our groups” Carlyle said. “We think there’s more to give from Ranger from Jake from Franson from Morgan Rielly Gunner and Dion. I think the defence as a whole has more.”


After Kessel’s goal slump reached four games against the Blackhawks on Saturday Carlyle observed one of his top gun’s issues was getting too cute picking corners. His second strike on Thursday came with just a sliver of space Jonas Hiller left under the bar.

“Those are some serious goal-scorer goals” Phaneuf added.

Kessel to his credit answered the first question by praising James van Riemsdyk’s great passes.


Teemu Selanne’s career started when Carlyle was still playing and ends in the season that 19-year-old Rielly breaks in with the Leafs.

If Rielly is still playing in the NHL at 43 age it will be the 2037-38 season. When he was born in March of 1994 Selanne already had about 100 of his 678 goals.

“That’s pretty cool” Rielly said. “He’s an NHL legend and I get a chance to play against him.”

Does Rielly think he’ll last that long?

“I’ll still be playing but it might be in a beer league by then.”