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Kessel gets best of Toews this time
Jonathan Toews and Phil Kessel renewed acquaintances Thursday night.
The young, talented forwards met four times in college and often in international competition while Toews played for Team Canada and Kessel was on Team USA.
And Thursday it was Kessel and his Bruins teammates who came out on top with a 3-1 victory over Toews and the Blackhawks before a crowd of 10,290 at TD Banknorth Garden.
"In a certain way, we're kind of arch-nemeses," said Toews, 19. "We went toe to toe all season (in 2005-06), and the talk was him going No. 1 in the draft and us being two of the top forwards. It's not fun to play against him because he's obviously a very dangerous player. But he's a great player to watch, and you respect a guy like that a lot."
The 20-year-old Kessel, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2006 draft, earned even more respect by scoring two goals to lead Boston to the victory. Toews, taken third overall in 2006, scored the Blackhawks' goal to extend his points streak to all eight NHL games he has played in.
"It's still alive, but it wasn't enough," Toews said of his streak. "We just needed a little extra. We deserved a lot more than we got. We're doing the right things, and in the end if we keep doing that, it's going to work for us."
After a scoreless first period, Kessel opened the second with a goal at the 2-minute-8-second mark with a wrist shot he snapped past Hawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin for his fourth of the season.
Toews tied it 1-1 with his fourth of the season when he fired a shot past Bruins goalie Tim Thomas from inside the right circle on the power play.
Kessel got the game-winner with 5:41 left in the second when he crossed the Hawks' blue line, deked past defenseman Magnus Johansson and put it by Khabibulin on his forehand.
Glen Metropolit added insurance for the Bruins with a goal with 12:52 remaining when he got past Johansson for his first goal of the season.
Despite the Hawks' second straight loss, which dropped them to 5-5, coach Denis Savard was pleased with the effort.
"We had lots of chances, [and] their goaltender made some huge saves," Savard said. "I liked the way we played. If we play like this every night, we're going to win more of our share of games then we'll lose."
The Hawks were short two players for much of the game after winger David Koci left in the first with a cut on the bridge of his nose suffered in a fight with Boston's Zdeno Chara. Defenseman Andrei Zyuzin didn't play after the second period after suffering a pulled muscle.
"I told our guys after the game I'm proud of them," Savard said. "This is what we expect. From start to finish we were strong. We got beat on two one-on-ones — simple as that. It made the difference."
One-timersHawks defenseman Brent Sopel sat out after straining his groin during Wednesday's practice. A healthy scratch was winger Rene Bourque, who was on the top line in Tuesday night's loss against Columbus. … Koci, who fought Chara despite having broken his nose in a fight Saturday night in Toronto, is expected to go on the injured list to let the cut heal.