The Toronto Maple Leafs’ come-from-behind 4-2 victory over the mighty Anaheim Ducks will not be remembered as Randy Carlyle’s revenge or Teemu Selanne’s Toronto farewell. It will be retold as the night the Leafs’ newly minted $64 million man tallied just the second hat trick by a Leaf on home ice in the last five seasons. (Kessel also had the other one, on Oct. 8, 2011, in a 6-5 squeaker over the Senators.)
So if Kessel and his fourth career hat trick is the story — the JVR gift of a falling pass, the slow-down-and-snipe, the roofed one-timer on the rush — there is a piece of Tuesday’s tale that transcends the on-ice heroics.
Kessel booked an Air Canada Center suite for Childhood Cancer Canada and sent 24 kids with cancer and their families to the contest. Then Kessel, who beat testicular cancer as a rookie, went out and inspired them with one of the best performances of his life.
This new legend of Kessel the Selfless just added a chapter.