Maple Leafs 4, Rangers 3
The result saw Toronto go four points clear of idle Ottawa for fifth in the Eastern Conference.
New York's Derek Stepan tied the game 3-3 midway through the third before Kessel struck 38 seconds later.
James van Riemsdyk recorded a goal and an assist while defenseman Ryan O'Byrne scored in his first game with the Maple Leafs. James Reimer made 31 saves in his fifth consecutive start.
Rick Nash had two goals and Stepan registered a tally and an assist for the Rangers, who remained two points behind the sixth-place Senators.
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Bruins 6, Hurricanes 2
Brad Marchand scored twice while Rich Peverley and defenseman Andrew Ference recorded a goal and an assist apiece as Boston extended its home point streak to nine games (8-0-1).
Tuukka Rask made 40 saves for the Bruins, who climbed within one point of first-place Montreal in the Northeast Division.
Patrick Dwyer and Drayson Bowman scored 45 seconds apart midway through the third period for Carolina, which has lost five in a row and fell to 1-11-1 in its last 13 contests. The Hurricanes remained eight points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 10 games remaining.
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Canucks 2, Coyotes 0
Ryan Kesler scored in his return from a broken foot and Cory Schneider made 19 saves as Vancouver won their sixth straight home game.
Defenseman Dan Hamhuis added a short-handed, empty-net goal for the Canucks, who extended their lead over Minnesota in the Northwest Division to four points. Schneider secured his ninth career shutout and tied Pekka Rinne and Mike Smith for the league lead with five.
Smith finished with 40 saves in his second start since returning from an injury suffered in his last meeting with the Canucks.
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Ducks 2, Oilers 1
Radek Dvorak snapped a tie at 7:48 of the third period with his second goal of the game as hosts Anaheim increased their lead atop the Pacific Division.
Saku Koivu recorded two assists and Jonas Hiller made 27 saves for the Ducks, who moved 11 points ahead of Los Angeles in the Pacific. Anaheim also pulled within three of Chicago in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.
Defenseman Nick Schultz scored and Devan Dubnyk stopped 36 shots for Edmonton, who suffered their third straight loss and remain four points behind eighth-place Detroit in the Western Conference.
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Flames 3, Avalanche 1
Mike Cammalleri scored for the first time in six games and Joey MacDonald made 39 saves as visiting Calgary snapped a franchise-record 13-game road losing streak.
Roman Cervenka and Alex Tanguay added goals for the Flames.
MacDonald stopped all 14 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes to preserve the victory, which was Calgary's first in six overall contests.
Brad Malone scored his first career goal for the Avalanche, who are winless in five and have one victory in their last 10 games (1-8-1).