Kessel's outstanding playoff performance with Penguins is nothing new

Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

Don't believe the narrative that Phil Kessel's career has been rejuvenated in Pittsburgh. The truth is, his playoff performance with the Penguins is reflective of his career as a whole.

Kessel recorded an assist and scored the following goal in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, improving his postseason point-per-game average to 1.03.

That Kessel is appearing in only his fourth postseason is more reflective of where he played for six seasons than his individual abilities. And even in his lone and short playoff run with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he certainly came to play.

Team Playoff Year Games Goal Assists Shots
Boston 2008 4 3 1 13
Boston 2009 11 6 5 38
Toronto 2013 7 4 2 28
Pittsburgh 2016 14 7 9 42

The 28-year-old is excelling on the big stage and it should come as no surprise, considering he's been one of the top performers in the NHL in recent years.

To wit, Kessel ranks fourth among all players in goals at five-on-five (159) and seventh in total points in the same situation (319) since the beginning of 2008-09 and through this past regular season, according to Corsica Hockey.

And don't forget Kessel led all players in points at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi with five goals and three assists in six games, adding further credence to his reputation as a big-game player.

He's even drawing rave reviews from Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.

Kessel developed great chemistry with linemates Carl Hagelin and Nick Bonino (allowing for an amazing "HBK" line name), and has the most points to date for a Penguins team that has the look of a Stanley Cup winner.

Taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy when it's all said and done would be the perfect way to cap his first march with the Penguins.

Kessel's outstanding playoff performance with Penguins is nothing new
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