NHL: Kessel Nabs First Goal, Vanek Continues Offensive Domination

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Former Gopher Phil Kessel made his first goal of the season count on Thursday night -- tallying the game winner in Toronto's 3-2 win over  Winnipeg. The game-deciding tally gave the forward his 100th goal with the Maple Leafs organization and his 166th as a pro. 


Through 11 games this year, Kessel has seven points (one goal, six assists). The forward tallied 82 points (37 goals, 45 assists) in 82 games for the Maple Leafs last season. 

Vanek's Two Goals Rally Buffalo to Overtime Win

The NHL's leading scorer this season -- Thomas Vanek notched another monster game on Thursday -- scoring a pair of third period goals including the overtime-forcing tally with under two seconds left in regulation -- in Buffalo's eventual 5-4 shootout win over Montreal. 

Considering Vanek has tallied a point in all but one of the 10 games he's played in this year and leads the league in goals (10) and points (21), you really can't be surprised the former Gopher found a way to knock in this goal to force overtime.


Vanek, who also ranks fourth in the league with 11 assists this year, also lit the lamp in Thursday's shootout. Here's Vanek's first goal of the night, which brought the Sabres within a goal. 


Noteworthy: 

*Paul Martin assisted on Evgeni Malkin's power-play goal -- the first of five unanswered goals by Pittsburgh following an early goal by Washington -- in a 5-2 Penguins' win. Martin also had a game-high 28:08 of ice time.

*Former Gophers Jordan Schroeder and Keith Ballard were victorious in their return to Minnesota -- the Canucks picked up a 4-1 win over the Wild.

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