Toronto, ON, United States (4E Sports) – Phil Kessel scored twice to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a fight-marred 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres Sunday at Air Canada Centre.
Toronto also had goals from Trevor Smith, Josh Leivo and Jake Gardiner while Nikita Zadorov, Jamie McBain and Tropp scored for the Sabres.
Leivo’s goal proved to be the winner at 16:52 of the third when he banged in a cross-ice pass from James van Riemsdyk.
Kessel was also involved in an altercation with Buffalo’s John Scott midway through the third period, seconds after a fight between Maple Leafs left wing Jamie Devane and Sabres right wing Corey Tropp erupted.
Kessel twice swung his stick at Scott as he backed away from the Sabres enforcer before some of his teammates jumped in.
“I don’t know. It was pretty stupid, right?” Kessel said. “He (Scott) said he was gonna jump me. I just backed up. What are you gonna do, you know? He’s a big boy so if he’s coming after me, what am I gonna do, right?”
The Kessel-Scott fight started a line brawl with Maple Leafs right wing David Clarkson jumping off the bench to join the fray and a goalie brawl between Ryan Miller of the Sabres and Jonathan Bernier of the Maple Leafs.
“I just saw everyone fighting and I wanted to defend my teammate, I guess,” Bernier said.
Clarkson received a 10-minute penalty for leaving the bench while 239 minutes in penalties were handed out by the end of the game. The benches on both sides were looking bare after numerous fighting majors and 10-minute misconducts were assessed.
“We’re not proud or happy with what went on,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “I think David Clarkson made a mistake and now we pay for it.”
Clarkson was unavailable to the media after the game. The teams don’t meet in the regular season until Nov. 15 in Buffalo.
“I think Clarkson will get 10 games for that,” Miller said. “Are we going to see Clarkson our first game against these guys? I don’t have my schedule. So probably not the brightest move by him. But I guess they figured they needed two guys to take down John (Scott).”