Leafs net be­gins to get back to nor­mal

The London Free Press - - SPORTS - TERRY KOSHAN

TORONTO — Ex­pect to see Fred­erik An­der­sen back in his of­fice on Mon­day night.

The Maple Leafs No. 1 goal­tender, felled by the flu the last cou­ple of days, is set to re­turn to the crease af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a groin in­jury that has kept him out since Dec. 22.

“Def­i­nitely feel ready to go,” An­der­sen said af­ter the Leafs prac­tised on Sun­day. “Got the lit­tle flu out of the way and feel a lot bet­ter than the (last) two days.

“It’s just a con­fi­dence thing of be­ing in dif­fer­ent po­si­tions with my leg and I think we cov­ered a good amount of ground to­day. It felt re­ally good.”

The Leafs play host to the Colorado Avalanche at Sco­tia­bank Arena on Mon­day night and there is a good chance Gar­ret Sparks also will be in his usual spot, sit­ting at the end of the bench as An­der­sen’s backup. An­der­sen has missed eight games, while Sparks was in­ac­tive for five games in his re­cov­ery from a con­cus­sion.

Sparks prac­tised on Sun­day, while Michael Hutchin­son, who held the fort with the top two Toronto goalies on the side­line, did not par­tic­i­pate. Later Hutchin­son was on the ice with goal­tend­ing coach Steve Briere and di­rec­tor of player de­vel­op­ment Stephane Ro­bidas.

“I’m med­i­cally cleared to par­tic­i­pate with the team and what they choose to do (on Mon­day) is up to them,” Sparks said.

Leafs coach Mike Bab­cock in­di­cated we will know af­ter the morn­ing skate Mon­day who is in net against an Avalanche team that was shut out in Mon­treal by the Cana­di­ens on Satur­day night and has lost nine of its last 10 games.

“It would be good to have ev­ery­body back, but that is all part of life,” Bab­cock said. “We have to find a way to play bet­ter and win games no mat­ter who is in net.”

Hutchin­son has played in nine NHL games this sea­son. If he plays in a 10th, he would re­quire waivers to be sent to the AHL Mar­lies.

With An­der­sen and Sparks ap­pear­ing to be set to re­turn on Mon­day, the Leafs should not have to worry about pos­si­bly los­ing Hutchin­son on waivers.

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Aus­ton Matthews has just one goal in his last nine games, but he is not ly­ing awake at night won­der­ing when he will score with reg­u­lar­ity again. The Leafs cen­tre men­tioned he likes the play of his line, which in­cludes An­dreas Johns­son and Kasperi Ka­pa­nen, in the last few games.

“I think we’re hold­ing on the puck a lot m ore, mak­ing plays when the op­por­tu­ni­ties are there, they’re just not go­ing in the back of the net,” Matthews said. “It gets frus­trat­ing at times. But at the same time, you’re gen­er­at­ing all these chances, you’ve got the puck on your stick, you’re hav­ing these nights when you get five, six, seven shots on net and they’re high-scor­ing chances. There is a lot of pos­i­tive things our line is do­ing.”

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Leafs gen­eral man­ager Kyle Dubas got some pa­per­work done on Sun­day, sign­ing for­ward Trevor Moore to a two-year one-way con­tract with an av­er­age an­nual value of $775,000 US. Moore looked good in a re­cent six-game au­di­tion with the Leafs, scor­ing one goal and record­ing two as­sists.

Moore brings a mix of speed, smarts and de­ter­mi­na­tion sim­i­lar to that of Johns­son.

JACK BOLAND/POST­MEDIA NEWS

Maple Leafs goalie Fred­erik An­der­sen gets set for a shot from Con­nor Brown dur­ing prac­tice in Toronto on Sun­day. An­der­sen is ex­pected to re­turn from a groin in­jury and the flu to start Mon­day night against Colorado.

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