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Leafs Win Wild Affair

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

TORONTO _ Phil Kessel scored his first two goals of the pre-season and the Toronto Maple Leafs held off a third period Buffalo Sabres surge to hang on for a 5-3 win Sunday night.

The Leafs also had goals from Trevor Smith, Josh Leivo and Jake Gardiner while Nikita Zadorov, Jamie McBain and Corey Tropp scored for Buffalo.

Kessel was involved in the main flash point of the game at 10:01 of the third when he was targeted by Sabres' John Scott seconds after a fight between Leafs' Jamie Devane and Tropp.

Kessel backed away from Scott while twice swinging his stick at the Sabres tough guy before some of his teammates jumped in.

That precipitated a line brawl with Leafs' 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 Leafs.

By the end of the game, the benches on both sides were looking bare after numerous fighting majors and 10-minute misconducts were handed out.

A night after the same two teams needed a 15-round shootout to settle a 3-2 win for the Leafs, Kessel opened the scoring at 1:35 of the first.

Kessel was camped in front of the Sabres goal and was in the right place when Tyler Bozak's centring pass was deflected into his path and he knocked in the loose puck.

Smith's first of the pre-season came just past the halfway mark when he was the beneficiary of another Buffalo deflection. Gardiner led a three-on-one rush into the Buffalo zone and fed a pass from the left side that took a deflection off a Buffalo skate and, with Miller taken out of position, Smith had a relatively easy tap-in.

After Zadorov got the Sabres on the board in the dying seconds of the first, Kessel restored the lead at 15:49 of the second period when he cut toward the middle of the ice from the left side and snapped a quick shot past Miller.

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.

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