As the Red Sox took on the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park in Game 2 of the World Series and second-ranked Boston College played at Virginia Tech, the Garden was less than half-filled for the only matchup this season between two of the NHL's original six franchises.
Tim Thomas made 26 saves in improving to 4-1 this season. He entered the game with a league-leading 1.26 goals against average. Boston has won five of six overall and has allowed two goals in three home games.
Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin hasn't won in Boston since 1996 with an 0-5-2 record.
Kessel scored 2:08 into the second period on an end-to-end rush that ended with his wristing a shot past Khabibulin.
Jonathan Toews tied the game at the 5:13 mark of the second with Chicago on a two-man advantage. Toews, who beat Thomas through a screen, has eight points in his last eight games.
Kessel scored the game-winner on another impressive individual effort when he sidestepped Blackhawks defenceman Magnus Johansson and flipped the puck past Khabibulin with 5:51 remaining in the second. He has five goals this season after scoring 11 in 2006-07.
Glen Metropolit capped off the scoring for Boston with his first of the season with 12:52 remaining.
Notes: Blackhawks F David Koci left the ice with his face covered in blood at the 11:42 mark of the first period after engaging in a fight with Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. ... Chicago D Andrei Zyuzin left the game with a pulled muscle. ... Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane didn't record a point after scoring nine in the last three games. ... Boston is 3-0-0 at home. ... The announced attendance was 10,290.