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Maple Leafs' Sparks out until after Christmas: report @NHLdotcom

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Garret Sparks will be out until at least after Christmas after sustaining a lower-body injury against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, coach Mike Babcock told The Canadian Press on Friday.

Sparks went to the bench and down the tunnel to the locker room at 11:32, after Patrick Marleau scored San Jose's second power-play goal to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead. He stopped 13 of 15 shots before being replaced by Jonathan Bernier. The Maple Leafs lost 5-4 in overtime.

Bernier will start Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings. Babcock said goalie James Reimer, who's sidelined with a groin injury, is progressing but not yet ready. Goalie Antoine Bibeau will be recalled from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League to back up Bernier.

Sparks was making his fifth start of the season after being called up from the Marlies. He is 3-1-0 with the Maple Leafs.

The Maple Leafs also lost forward Nick Spaling, who sustained what the team called an upper-body injury 24 seconds into the game and did not return. Babcock said Spaling will also be out until after Christmas.

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