Leafs’ Frederik Andersen expecting to return from injury Thursday in Nashville

Leafs' Andersen expects to play Thursday night

TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs are expecting to have their No. 1 netminder back in the crease Thursday night in Nashville.

Frederik Andersen took part in an optional practice in Toronto on Wednesday afternoon and sounded optimistic about starting against the Predators, ending a few days worth of uncertainty about his status for the Leafs’ playoff push. 

“We’ll see on the plane, but I’m looking pretty positive and I feel ready to go,” Andersen said shortly before the two-hour flight to Nashville.

The 27-year-old was injured in the opening minutes of the Leafs Saturday visit to Buffalo after he was bumped in the head by Sabres forward William Carrier. Andersen claimed to feel “a little bit off” after the collision but remained in the game for the ensuing 17-plus minutes before he was finally replaced for the second period by backup Curtis McElhinney. 

He was declared day-to-day with a mysterious upper-body ailment, the details of which the Leafs never revealed.

McElhinney started in relief against Florida on Tuesday and, while wobbly and perhaps fortunate at times, made 25 saves to secure a 3-2 win over the Panthers. The victory kept the Leafs one point up on the Boston Bruins for third in the Atlantic division and four ahead of the rising Tampa Bay Lightning with seven games to go.

Andersen’s return is a big boost to the Leafs’ push, his relative stability between the pipes helping the club jump from 30th place last season into the playoff fold this year.

The Danish netminder boasts a very respectable .918 save percentage in a career-high 61 starts. He’s been especially effective in March, posting a 6-1-2 record with a .936 save percentage.

Andersen looked upbeat as he tooks shots from teammates on Wednesday afternoon, and even an attempt that rung off his mask failed to dull his spirits.

“We worked hard on the ice and made sure that I got up to speed again,” Andersen said. 

Leafs coach Mike Babcock planned to discuss Andersen and the goaltending plans for Thursday with goalie coach Steve Briere on the ride to Nashville, but seemed confident his No. 1 would in fact return. Toronto all but confirmed it by sending third-stringer Garret Sparks to the Toronto Marlies shortly after practice wrapped up.

“You can’t play the guy when he’s not ready so we had to wait for him to be ready and he’s ready now,” Babcock said. “We didn’t think it was a big deal, but obviously when he’s not playing it’s a big deal.”

Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Classical music festival going ahead in Vernon, Kelowna

The fifth annual Vernon Proms Classical Music Festival has modified programming to keep people safe

Pedestrian numbers skyrocket on car free Bernard Avenue

Pedestrian traffic more than doubled July 1 to July 7 compared to 2019 numbers

A look back at Kelowna’s past

Check out this historic photo of Kelowna from the early 1900s

40 Under 40: Brian Stephenson

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has launched its “40 Under Forty” for 2020

Morning Start: Naps could save your life

Your morning start for Wednesday, July 9, 2020

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

COVID-19: Fundraiser launched to keep Okanagan restaurant afloat

A GoFundMe account has been set up for Little Tex Restaurant with a goal of $25,000

South Okanagan RCMP member speaks out against criticism

Police have been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent weeks

Indigenous leader Ed John pleads not guilty to historical sex charges

Ed John’s lawyer entered the plea by telephone on behalf of his client

Woman who talked to unconscious husband for 30 years gets solace from B.C. study

Ian Jordan suffered a head injury when he and another officer were on their way to a call in Victoria in September 1987

RCMP investigate threat against Indigenous totem poles on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast

Police describe the nature of the threat as ‘sensitive’

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Security guard assaulted in Kamloops park thanks police, public for quick arrest

Glen Warner, 71, was attacked on July 2 by a man who was asked by Warner to not smoke

Most Read