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Maple Leafs goalie Sparks to start Monday

NHL.com @NHL

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Garret Sparks will make his NHL debut against the Edmonton Oilers at Air Canada Centre on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SN).

Sparks, 22, was recalled Saturday from Toronto of the American Hockey League and backed up Jonathan Bernier. Goaltender James Reimer sat out because of a lower-body injury.

"(Maple Leafs coach) Mike (Babcock) told me after practice [Sunday], so I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, just keep a very even keel and play my best hockey," Sparks told the Toronto Star.

Sparks, a seventh-round pick (No. 190) in the 2011 NHL Draft, is 8-2-1 in 11 AHL games. He's second in the league with a .938 save percentage and fourth with a 1.90 GAA.

Bernier started in goal Saturday against the Washington Capitals but allowed four goals on 23 shots in a 4-2 Maple Leafs loss. Bernier has allowed four goals in each of his past three games, and in nine games this season is 0-8-1 with a 3.28 goals-against average and .888 save percentage.

"We've got to find a way to win a game," Babcock said. "He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks … you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out."

Reimer practiced Sunday, splitting time with Bernier at one end of the ice while Sparks was in the other goal.

"Obviously we're being, I don't want to say too cautious, but we're making sure," Babcock said.

Reimer said he hopes to play Wednesday at the Winnipeg Jets.

"I really hope so," he said. "Felt a lot better today than it did the other day. Hopefully mid-week, yeah. … Getting better. Getting better every day. Pretty frustrating, but I've felt a lot of progress from last week. Getting close."

Babcock said forward Joffrey Lupul likely won't play Monday because of what he called a nagging issue. In 23 games Lupul has eight goals and three assists.

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