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Maple Leafs' Bernier returns from five-game absence with groin injury

Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 12:15 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Maple Leafs' Bernier returns from five-game absence with groin injury

TORONTO - Jonathan Bernier did almost everything he usually does when he's the Toronto Maple Leafs' starting goaltender. He manned the home net at Air Canada Centre, was first off the ice and did not speak following the morning skate.

Signs pointed to Bernier returning from a five-game absence with a groin injury to face the St. Louis Blues, though he left the ice quickly and then coach Randy Carlyle did not confirm that Tuesday morning. Carlyle said he hadn't yet got an update from the team's medical staff but didn't rule out the possibility of Bernier starting.

"Everything's possible," Carlyle said.

James Reimer and third goaltender Drew MacIntyre split time on the ice before coming off together. If Bernier is ready, MacIntyre figures to be sent back to the AHL's Toronto Marlies later Tuesday.

Seeing Bernier go through the motions of a starter, MacIntyre seemed to sense "this cup of coffee" in the NHL was coming to an end soon.

But Bernier did leave the ice quickly after stretching near the blue line. Usually, Toronto's starter takes shots from defencemen after that.

If Reimer starts, it would be his sixth straight. He was pulled Sunday night after giving up three goals to the New Jersey Devils and replaced by MacIntyre, who stopped all 14 shots he faced.

Defenceman Paul Ranger took part in the morning skate, his first since suffering a neck injury last week. His status was not clear, though if he played the Leafs would most likely go back to 11 forwards and seven defencemen.

Ryan Miller is set to start in goal for the Blues, two days after backup Brian Elliott shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins. Miller is 31-15-3 with a 2.46 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in his career against the Leafs.

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