TORONTO â€” Goaltender Garret Sparks was recalled by the Toronto Maple Leafs from the American Hockey League on an emergency basis Sunday morning, renewing questions about the status of No. 1 netminder Frederik Andersen.
Andersen was forced to exit Saturday’s playoff-clinching win over Pittsburgh when he was bumped in the head by Penguins forward Tom Sestito two minutes into the second period. Two weeks earlier, the 27-year-old was hit in similar fashion by Sabres forward William Carrier, Andersen missing the ensuing start with an undisclosed upper body injury.
Leafs head coach Mike Babcock offered little on his status after the 5-3 win over the Penguins except to say that Andersen would “ideally” start Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. That reality looks less likely following the recall of Sparks, who would presumably back up Curtis McElhinney against the Jackets if Andersen can’t go.
Toronto’s regular season finale carries playoff implications: if the Leafs pick up at least a point they’ll face Ottawa in the first round and avoid the President’s trophy-winning Washington Capitals. More important though is the potential absence of Andersen for the start of that post-season.
Andersen has delivered 33 wins and a .918 save percentage in his first season with the Leafs.
Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press