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Sabres 7, Maple Leafs 6 @NHLdotcom

TORONTO (AP) -Tomas Vanek scored two goals and the Buffalo Sabres beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-6 to conclude the exhibition schedule for both teams.

Clarke MacArthur, Nathan Gerbe, Jochen Hecht, Tim Kennedy and Matt Ellis also had goals for the Sabres (4-1-1). Patrick Lalime made 21 saves.

Lee Stempniak scored twice for Toronto (6-3), and Viktor Stalberg, Jason Blake, Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski also tallied. Vesa stopped 17 shots.

Toronto squandered the chance to win seven preseason games for the first time dating to 1969, as far back as the records in the team's training camp media guide go. They last won six in 2003.

"I think both teams were disinterested most of the night," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "It's your last exhibition game. Lord knows, we've played enough of them."

One of the most popular Leafs during training camp has been Stalberg and it didn't take him long to get the fans cheering again. Standing at the top of the crease, he redirected Tomas Kaberle's pass behind Lalime at 11:24 of the first period.

The 23-year-old appeared in eight preseason games over 12 days and scored three nights in a row.

"It's been three long weeks not only for me, but for everyone," Stalberg said.

Stempniak extended Toronto's lead before the end of the first period with a tip-in.

Three Buffalo goals over a stretch of 5:35 during the second period quickly erased the lead.

MacArthur, Gerbe and Vanek all finished off nice passing plays by beating Toskala and suddenly the Leafs were back on their heels - and trailing 3-2.

Wilson announced that Toskala, who gave up all seven goals, would be starting the season opener - "so there's no controversy."

The deficit only lasted 30 seconds. Blake skated into the Buffalo end on a lone rush and picked the top corner while Air Canada Centre public address announcer Andy Frost was still calling out Vanek's goal.

By then, it was clear this would be a long night for the goaltenders and the back-and-forth scoring only continued.

Kulemin's first of the preseason at 16:27 of the second briefly gave the Leafs a 4-3 lead, but Buffalo countered with two of its own in the opening minutes of the third - first, a wraparound by Hecht at 1:15 before Kennedy charged to the front of the net and knocked the puck in at 2:27.

Even though Stempniak soon tied it 5-all, Vanek and Ellis scored goals 1:32 apart to finally build a lead that would stand. Grabovski's goal made it close but a last-minute attempt to tie it fell short.

NOTES: Fans cheered when a picture of Nazem Kadri was shown on the scoreboard. The Leafs prospect was sent back to the OHL's London Knights on Sunday ... Toronto forward Alexei Ponikarovsky sat out one night after being high-sticked just above his right eye ... Buffalo beat the Maple Leafs five of the six times they played last season ... Announced attendance was 18,388.

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