Sparks handed Toronto debut

Garret Sparks will make his NHL debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks, 22, was recalled from Toronto of the American Hockey League to back up Jonathan Bernier with starting goaltender James Reimer sidelined with a lower-body injury.

"Mike 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 was a seventh round pick in 2011 for Toronto and will start in place of Bernier after the 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday, coach Mike Babcock says he has no problem with handing the youngster his chance.

"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."

Meanwhile, first choice goaltender Reimer has revealed he hopes to be back available for selection on Wednesday when the Maple Leafs make the trip to the Winnipeg Jets.

"I really hope so," said Reimer.

"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."

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