When Phil Kessel played for the Bruins, he was a young pup still learning his way in the NHL. Now, he's grown into the NHL's leading scorer, a formidable force the Bruins will need to contend with Saturday night when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m., CBC, NESN HD).
"Phil's matured," Julien said after practice Thursday. "Just like any other player he's getting older and when I say he's matured, [it's] as a person I'm sure. As a player you can see it. He's a lot stronger hanging on to the puck than he ever was. He shoots the puck and he's finding ways to get shots off. Every game he has a lot of opportunities, so he's becoming a better player with age."
Kessel leads the NHL with 10 goals and 21 points, and the Maple Leafs are 9-3-1, all alone atop the Northeast Division.
The Bruins, conversely, have begun the season slowly, currently dwelling in the Northeast cellar despite Tuesday's 5-3 win against the Ottawa Senators.