Monday, December 18, 2017
Sports

Maple Leafs, Sabres brawl

TORONTO — An array of fighting majors and 10-minute misconducts left the benches bare and penalty minutes totaling more than 100 in the Maple Leafs' 5-3 win over the Sabres on Sunday night.

Phil Kessel scored his first two goals of the preseason and was the flash point of the fighting at 10:01 of the third period when he was targeted by the Sabres' John Scott.

Kessel would not drop his gloves to fight Scott but instead backed away while twice swinging his stick at the Sabres' tough guy before some of his teammates jumped in.

That precipitated a line brawl with the Leafs' David Clarkson jumping off the bench to join the fray and a goalie fight between Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Toronto's Jonathan Bernier.

The line brawl came seconds after a fight between Leafs forward Jamie Devane and the Sabres' Corey Tropp.

Clarkson is subject to an automatic 10-game suspension for leaving the bench for a fight.

"Probably not the brightest move by him," Miller said.

Said Toronto coach Randy Carlyle: "We're not proud or happy with what went on. I think Dave Clarkson made a mistake. Now we pay for it."

Clarkson was not made available for comment.

Kessel said Scott told him "he was going to jump me." Scott, at 6 feet 9 and 270 pounds, is 8 inches taller and almost 68 pounds heavier than Kessel (6 feet, 202), according to nhl.com's listings.

"He's a big boy. If he's coming after me, what are you going to do?" Kessel said.

Scott hinted that he was "joking" about the threat.

Among the penalties Kessel received was a match penalty for his retaliation on Scott, a ruling imposed for deliberate attempt to injure another player. Any player given a match penalty is automatically suspended until a ruling is handed down by commissioner Gary Bettman.

More preseason games: Byron Froese scored his second goal 3:25 into the third period, Corey Crawford made 30 saves and the Blackhawks held on for a 4-3 victory over the host Red Wings. … Pekka Rinne, in his first game since left hip surgery in early May, made 13 saves to lead the host Predators to a 2-0 victory over the Islanders. Rinne played two periods.

Canucks: Wings Zack Kassian and Dale Weise have disciplinary hearings today for infractions committed in a preseason game with the Oilers on Saturday.

Kassian's high stick on the Oilers' Sam Gagner broke the center's jaw. Kassian received a double minor. The league requested an in-person hearing, Canada's TSN TV network reported, meaning Kassian could be suspended for at least five games.

Gagner was scheduled to have surgery today and is out indefinitely.

Weise hit Taylor Hall in the head and received a minor penalty. He said he would comment after his hearing, scheduled to be by phone, which means if he were suspended, the term would be fewer than five games.

Coach John Tortorella declined to comment on either incident.

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