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Leafs goalie Andersen off IR, starting Monday

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been scuffling lately, but they’ll get a boost with the return Monday of goalie Frederik Andersen.

He has been out since Dec. 22 with a groin injury but will be back between the pipes Monday against the Avalanche.

“I’ve been working hard on making sure it feels well and feels good to play on, and is something that won’t linger,” Andersen said after Monday’s morning skate. “That’s why we took a little bit extra time to make sure I was feeling great.

“If I really had to play I could have pushed it a little bit sooner, but we tested our patience a little bit in trying to get it fixed.”

Toronto’s backup Garret Sparks, who was out with a concussion, also returned to the team Monday.

The Maple Leafs have lost four of their last six games and are only two point ahead of the Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division.

Toronto had been relying on emergency callup Michael Hutchinson in goal. He went 2-3-0 with a 2.64 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.

Andersen is 20-9-1 this season with a 2.50 goals-against average and .923 save percentage; his 20 wins rank third in the league.

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