Kessel backed away from Scott while twice swinging his stick at 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?"
That precipitated a line brawl with Maple Leafs right wing David Clarkson jumping off the bench to join the fray, and a goalie fight between Ryan Miller of the Sabres and Jonathan Bernier of the Maple Leafs. Clarkson received a 10-minute penalty for leaving the bench.
"I just saw everyone fighting and I wanted to defend my teammate, I guess," Bernier said.
By the end of the game, 239 minutes in penalties were handed out. 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 told reporters after the game. "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)."
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.
Material from wire services was used in this report.