Rookie Toronto goalie Garret Sparks eyes consistency as excitement wanes
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Garret Sparks generated plenty of excitement after recording a shutout in his NHL debut last week, but now that he has four starts with the Maple Leafs on his resume, Sparks is starting to focus more on business than on the thrill of finally playing in the NHL.
“Obviously the facilities are top-notch and it's exciting just to be able to drive here in the morning, park underground, see everybody and get on the ice,” Sparks told reporters recently. “I've been able to reel in the excitement and take a more business-like approach to it now. Just trying to learn things every game and become a more well-rounded goalie as quickly as possible here.”
Sparks had a rough outing against Winnipeg on Dec. 2, allowing six goals on 35 shots, but he looked good in his other three starts. On Tuesday, Sparks stood tall against the Devils, allowing two goals on 27 shots and out-dueling Devils goaltender Cory Schneider in the shootout to help the Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win.
Sparks' confidence in the crease showed in the first period when, despite allowing a goal 1:24 into the game, Sparks was able to put the miscue behind him and bounce back to keep the Leafs in the game.
The goalie earned First Star honors for the outing and now has a 3-1-0 record with a .921 save percentage through four games.
(h/t Toronto Sun)