Phil Kessel (Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
Phil Kessel scored his first goal as a Pittsburgh Penguin on Saturday night. With the Penguins down 1-0, Kessel stole the puck from Arizona’s Shane Doan and ripped a wrist shot off the post and in past Coyotes netminder Mike Smith.
When Pittsburgh acquired Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season, the Penguins nabbed one of the best pure shooters in the NHL. Saturday night, Kessel put that shot to good use, scoring an absolutely beautiful wrist shot for his first tally in black and gold.
After stripping Shane Doan of the puck at center ice with a slick poke check, Kessel burst into the Arizona zone and clanked a perfectly placed shot in off the post past Coyotes netminder Mike Smith. Smith had a rough season in 2014-15, but no matter who the goaltender was in this instance he would have had a tough time stopping Kessel’s shot:
This past season, Kessel had his worst goal-scoring season since 2007-08. Kessel notched 25 goals with the Maple Leafs in 2014-15, which was the second-lowest full-season total of his career. Five times in his nine-year career, Kessel notched 30-plus goals, including three 35-plus goal seasons.
Through two games with the Penguins, Kessel has registered nine shots and averaged more than 19 minutes of ice time per game.