One is a kid from Ottawa who came up through the Canadian junior ranks. The other is an Austrian who played American college hockey and made Minnesota his adopted home. They were born 8 1/2 months apart in 1983-84 and have been teammates since 2004 in Rochester.

Tonight in First Niagara Center is an intriguing game for the Buffalo Sabres, who host the Toronto Maple Leafs for the first time this season. But it's a milestone one for Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek, who will both play the 500th game of their NHL careers.

Roy and Vanek, longtime linemates now playing apart, will become the 25th and 26th players to take the ice 500 times with the Sabres in the franchise's 41 seasons.

"That's interesting that it's the same night for both of us," Roy, 28, said with a laugh after practice Thursday downtown. "Somebody told me, 'Hey, you're getting right up to 500' and I just didn't know it was [tonight].

"You overcome injuries and different things and it's a tough grind to play 500 games in this league. Players come in and out all the time. You've put in a lot of work growing up as a kid and in juniors and then when you get here, you want to stay. That's why you work -- to stay."

"It's a real good milestone and you hope to have many more games," said Vanek, 27. "Ever since the lockout we've known each other, been through ups and downs together, good years team-wise and some struggles. The ultimate goal is to make another push and win playoff games here."

It was pretty close to being a trio at 500 tonight as captain Jason Pominville will play in his 490th game as a Sabre. He missed nine last year with a concussion and was a healthy scratch early in the 2005-06 season after reporting from Rochester.