The first Hockey News player of the week for the 2011-12 season is Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Over the first 11 days of the season, Kessel has been off to the races.
In Toronto’s season-opener against Montreal Kessel got 20:50 of ice time and managed a lone assist and a plus-1 rating in the 2-0 victory.
Two nights later in a wild 6-5 win over Ottawa, Kessel notched a hat trick and added an assist for a four-point night in 19:43 of ice. He recorded his first power play point of the season and also registered the game-winning goal.
Kessel’s third game didn’t come until a week later when the Leafs hosted the Flames. Despite the layoff, Kessel was still sharp, recording two goals and an assist in a 3-2 win. The fifth overall pick from 2006 scored his second game-winner of the season as the Maple Leafs are off to a surprising 3-0-0 start.
With five goals and eight points in three games, Kessel is tied with John Tavares and David Legwand for the early lead in NHL scoring.